A recent poll released from Morning Consult indicated U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp has earned approval from 60% of North Dakota voters. The results place Heitkamp in the top seventeen regarding favorability of the nation’s Senators according to their constituents. North Dakota’s U.S. Senator John Hoeven earned 65% from North Dakota voters, placing him at number ten.
I can’t say I’m surprised by the results. Though I’ve grown more frustrated with Hoeven as of late, I’ve voted for him in the past, and still like him even when I wish he’d show more independence in DC. I’ve also made it abundantly clear my support for Heitkamp over the years. The results solidify the concept that North Dakotans approve of elected officials who are willing to work together, as these two often do, to get things done. That doesn’t necessarily mean voters need to agree with the outcome all of the time, but I believe we have an inherent respect for those willing to roll up their sleeves, get to work, and not just practice simple political posturing.
As you know, Heitkamp is up for reelection in 2018 which is why we’ll focus on her. Though a formal announcement of her intent has not been delivered, all signs point to her running again. Earlier this month, Politico broke that Heitkamp had raised $1.6 million in the first quarter. She’s also been traveling the state visiting about legislative priorities which means there is no sign of slowing down.
Heitkamp has mastered the moderate, independent, thinking I believe a majority of North Dakotans do adhere and admire. At least 60% of them according to this poll. She has shown the ability to earn support and awards from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while also maintaining around a 90% satisfaction from the nation’s labor organizations. Heitkamp has also proven she is willing to break with the rank and file of her national party when their platform and motives don’t line up with North Dakota values. I’ve written about this rural Democrat dilemma with the DNC before.
As you’ve likely heard her independent mindset has caused some frustration to those in the Democratic Party both nationally and on the left here locally. It is important for them to remember, once the election is over you represent a constituency, not just a party. To me, that is refreshing to see during this time. Strong fundraising and high approval ratings in our state are a good start for Heitkamp in a race that will be high profile. The gears are greased, now she just needs to put it in drive.