According to a spokesperson, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp raised $1,323,980.95 and now has $4,464,593.64 cash on hand. The fourth quarter filing shows the numbers raised between October 1st and December 31st. After record-breaking fundraising throughout 2017, Heitkamp reports having raised $7,729,590.53 so far this cycle. She has positioned herself well heading into a campaign that has left the Republican party scrambling to find a credible opponent.
Heitkamp’s campaign has taken nearly five thousand contributions from North Dakotans. From last quarter to this quarter, her campaign has doubled its money from North Dakotans. Julia Krieger, Communications Director of Heidi for North Dakota said, “These numbers reinforce what we already know, which is that Heidi has grassroots support in every corner of the state. Heidi is laser focused on her work fighting for North Dakotans in the U.S. Senate and is grateful for the continued outpouring of support from folks in the state.”
The Senate race in ND had been marked “lean Democrat” by national figures in the third quarter of last year. The talk at the time was Heitkamp was in a good position in the state, but that could change if Congressman Kevin Cramer jumped in the race. As you know now, Cramer decided to run for reelection to the House instead of challenge Heitkamp.
The ranking of “lean Democrat” was placed on the race because it appeared State Senator Tom Campbell would be the challenger. Until yesterday, Campbell looked like he’d be the candidate the NDGOP was stuck with. Republican friends have been telling me they aren’t thrilled with that prospect. Yesterday, they officially got their second candidate seeking the Party’s nomination. Former NDGOP Chair Gary Emineth is in.
Both Campbell and Emineth are personally wealthy and have an ability to self-fund a campaign. Campbell’s already spent hundreds of thousands of his own money on advertising. With Emineth’s late entrance, he’ll likely need to dump some personal cash into name recognition as well.
The challenge by self-funders underscores the importance of Heitkamp’s strong fundraising ability. Raising $7.7 million during an off year should not be overlooked. Now that the race is officially on, expect those numbers to remain steady if not increase between now and November.