This morning Senator Heidi Heitkamp made it official, she is seeking re-election. The first term Democrat from North Dakota beat Congressman Rick Berg in 2012 by a narrow margin. However, since being elected, Heitkamp has gained popularity across the state. A poll released earlier this year from Morning Consult showed Heitkamp with at 60% approval rating in North Dakota which puts her in a strong position heading into 2018.
The announcement isn’t much of a surprise. Heitkamp has already raised over $3 million in the first two-quarters of 2017, the most raised in North Dakota during an off year. Without a strong, well-known, Republican opponent, the U.S. Senate race was placed as a “lean Democrat” in Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Center for Politics. The first declared Republican candidate is State Senator Tom Campbell who spent almost $800,000 on television ads in his first eight days.
There is no question this race will be the most expensive in North Dakota’s history. National Republicans believe Heitkamp is vulnerable. The feel on the ground in North Dakota shows otherwise. Heitkamp is well liked, well traveled, and well versed in the issues important to the state. The race for 2018 is on.