In what is not at all a surprising result, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) will no longer represent the Roughrider State. Heidi Heitkamp voted to confirm an overwhelming majority of Trump’s cabinet appointments.
With 92 percent of the vote counted, the New York Times has declared Republican Kevin Cramer the winner, taking 54 percent of the counted vote as of 12:30 AM Eastern Time.
“This is an election on where are we going to go, how are we going to speak as the American people to solve problems,” said Heitkamp. “And I believe at the end of the day when you have someone who promised you one thing — and that is to be 100 percent with one side — that is not somebody who is going to solve that problem.”
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), the state’s at-large member of the House of Representatives, hit Heitkamp for her opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh saying it was a symptom of her being bought and paid for by the “liberal left.”
“She corrals me all the time to advocate her issues,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), a likely 2020 contender. “God, I’ve got so many stories, some times things I’m really reluctant, but that goes to show the power that she has. She brings people together on both sides of the political aisle.”
But in deep-red North Dakota, it isn’t clear how much that kind of praise helps Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp did pull an upset victory in 2012, but had much better odds back then. Cramer is a stronger opponent and Keitkamp is no longer a Washington outsider. And then there’s the voter suppression.
The popular perception of North Dakota’s voter ID law is that it was explicitly intended to disenfranchise native voters. The law requires voters have street addresses, where most natives in North Dakota use post office boxes for mail. Once again, the Standing Rock reservation is front and center in the news.
Native Americans typically vote Democratic. It’s hard to say definitively how the ID law affected the outcome of the North Dakota Senate race so soon, but in a state with a population of less than a million, those votes could’ve easily been the deciding factor in a dramatic race.
For those voters, though, it means that today, like too many times in their history, they had no voice in their own future.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.