When I heard about the passing of Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s mother earlier this week, I wondered if such a sad event in the lives of the Heitkamp family may just be another opportunity to call a political truce, for a time, in a hotly contested mid-term U.S. Senate race. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out that way— at least not for some people.
It just so happens that new polling from Morning Consult shows Senator Heitkamp in trouble. As would be expected, various news sources picked up the story yesterday and ran with it. But feathers were ruffled – and understandably so – when someone with the NDGOP shared an article about the polling with the accompanying message, “People have had ENOUGH!”
If you’re wondering why that’s so problematic, it’s because yesterday was also the funeral of Doreen Heitkamp— Heidi Heitkamp’s mother. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over well with some folks in the Dem-NPL. As a result, one of their former employee’s submitted a letter to the Forum yesterday afternoon in which she expressed her view that this was a “new low” and that the NDGOP owes “Heidi and the entire Heitkamp family an apology”.
Not everyone associated with the Dem-NPL felt the same though. NDGOP Executive Director Dane Ferguson explained that a staffer was supposed to schedule the post to publish later, but ended up posting it immediately. Once it was recognized, it was taken down, but of course it was too late. By then it had already been seen. Nevertheless, Dem-NPL spokesman Alex Rich accepted Ferguson’s explanation by saying:
“We don’t want to see this as a new nadir for partisan politics. If it was an actual accident … then we accept that.”
In her aforementioned letter to the Forum, the author conveniently failed to acknowledge the actions of Heitkamp’s opponent, Congressman Kevin Cramer. On his Facebook page earlier in the day, Congressman Cramer posted the following message:
“Kris and I are keeping the entire Heitkamp family in our prayers today as they say goodbye to a special mother and grandmother. We pray God will comfort them as they remember Doreen’s remarkable life and legacy.”
There’s little doubt that Cramer was being sincere. After all, he knows what it’s like to lose a loved one. Back in March, the Cramer’s lost their son Isaac. It was an unfortunate and tragic loss in which Senator Heitkamp expressed her condolences to the Cramer family. So far as I can see, both Senator Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer have shown compassion and empathy towards one another after losing their loved ones.
As regrettable as the NDGOP’s social media post was, I don’t think the former Dem-NPL employee’s letter to the Forum was any better. In fact, it might have been worse. Publicly criticizing the NDGOP for a post – that was removed – on the same day that you’re slamming them for posting it seems a bit disingenuous to me.