In his first campaign advertisement of the year, Kevin Cramer followed the lead of Mitch McConnell and set a negative tone. Typically, a candidate would want to set a positive tone and shine a good light on themselves. Instead, Cramer is spending his money with the focus on tearing Heidi Heitkamp down. His ad builds upon the national Republican and Koch Brother ads rejected by North Dakotans. If this is a preview of things to come, it is going to be a long election year in North Dakota.
Why go negative in May with your first ad? Either Cramer’s camp couldn’t find a single legislative accomplishment spearheaded by the Congressman, or their internal polling shows – despite what the state’s right-wing media would have you believe – that Heitkamp’s favorability remains high. Regardless, there is no debate as to which campaign is eager to embrace the Washington type campaigns the general North Dakota public has grown tired of.
— Kevin Cramer (@kevincramer) May 15, 2018
This type of negative ad follows Finken’s philosophy. Pat Finken of Odney Advertising, now head of Cramer’s campaign, has a history of bending things just enough to fit his campaign client’s narrative. We’ve seen it in legislative races for years. Now, take this ad for example. Wanting a better deal for blue-collar workers and a tax cut that is permanent doesn’t mean a “repeal” of the rushed, temporary reform Republicans passed in December. Nor does demanding workable improvements without kicking North Dakotans off of health insurance mean “keeping” Obamacare.
Perhaps they have reason to be concerned. Yesterday, President Trump had lunch with Senate Republicans. While talking about prospects of picking up Senate seats in November, Trump said he thinks Republicans will pick up two. North Dakota and Cramer didn’t make the list.
Trump told GOP senators at lunch today that Republicans will pick up Indiana and West Virginia, per two sources
— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) May 15, 2018
Does Kevin Cramer lack legislative accomplishments after six years in office? Couldn’t his campaign find anything he led the charge on? What does his internal polling show that panics Cramer and the rest of his allies that they need to continually go negative? Will this constant stream of negativity wear on voters? It is only May!
I grew up with a big family in a small North Dakota town — that’s where I learned the value of hard work and the art of compromise. But don’t just take my word for it, hear it from my family. #NDSen #NDPol #HH4ND pic.twitter.com/9FfobXzmit
— Heidi Heitkamp (@HeidiHeitkamp) April 25, 2018
Compare Cramer’s tone to Heitkamp’s. She’s had two ads, both about who she is, her accomplishments, and work ethic. Above is the ad with her family. This week, she released a radio ad talking about her six years in office. Now, go into any coffee shop, bar, or cafe and play Cramer’s, McConnell’s, and the Koch Brother ads of negativity. Follow them up with Heitkamp’s. You would not be surprised that likability, being personable, and touting accomplishments will go along way in North Dakota.