North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp went against the grain with a pledge to vote down Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Thursday, October 4. It was a move that analysts almost universally agreed will result in sabotage when the overwhelmingly “red” constituents of her state flood the polls to determine whether or not to re-elect Heitkamp in November. But to the surprise of many, it turns out the move actually paid off in regards to the incumbent Democrat’s fundraising efforts.
For a period early on in the afternoon, Heitkamp stole headlines by declaring that she’ll be casting a hard “no” on Kavanaugh, as reporters spent each passing hour waiting for new developments from undecided senators Lisa Murkowski, Joe Manchin, Susan Collins, and Jeff Flake. The 62-year-old party veteran disclosed her decision to a reporter with WDAY-TV, stating, “The process has been bad, but at the end of the day, you have to make a decision, and I have made that decision. I will be voting no on Judge Kavanaugh.”
Heitkamp would then go on to shed some light on what steered her towards the stance she is set on taking from her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee – and to address questions on how she could have had no issues with voting-in President Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch – yet turn around and be against Kavanaugh at this point in time. “I voted for Justice Gorsuch because I felt his legal ability and temperament qualified him to serve on the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh is different,” she said.
“When considering a lifetime appointment to Supreme Court, we must evaluate the totality of the circumstances and record before us,” said Heitkamp. “In addition to the concerns about his past conduct, last Thursday’s hearing called into question Judge Kavanaugh’s current temperament, honesty, and impartiality,”
Within hours of the story getting around about Heitkamp’s plans, her website was inundated with a spike in traffic that resulted in it going down. Before long, the ActBlue fundraising platform tweeted out a graph showing the immense surge in donations that the underdog senator had received following her announcement.
It remains to be seen just how much was pooled by the amount that came in, but what is certain is that it only served to boost fundraising efforts that were already on the upswing. In fact, a third-quarter report released by Heitkamp’s campaign on Thursday showed that she had raised nearly $4 million since July – a figure which she touts on her website as the “single largest fundraising haul in North Dakota history.”
Prior to the new lot of funds coming in, she was standing on $14 million in contributions. It is a figure that Heitkamp hopes will translate to the effect of helping her close in on a double-digit deficit behind GOP candidate Kevin Cramer on the ballot in November.