Heidi Heitkamp Flooded With Donations After Voting Against Brett Kavanaugh

Donors gave more than $12 million in 17 days -- although Heitkamp is still an underdog in next month's midterms.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is an underdog in her re-election bid against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is an underdog in her re-election bid against Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) has raised more than $12 million in the weeks following her decision to vote against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court ― a massive sum for a small-state senator facing an uphill battle for re-election.

The flood of donations, made public in a Federal Election Commission filing on Thursday, includes nearly $7.5 million in donations under $200. Before this filing period, which covers Oct. 1 through Oct. 17, Heitkamp had raised $14 million this entire election cycle, with just $2 million of that coming in small donations.

Heitkamp voted against Kavanaugh on Oct. 6, saying she believed Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers in the 1980s.

Public polls show Heitkamp trailing Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) by significant margins in her re-election bid, though Democrats insist the race is closer. Cramer and other Republicans have argued that Heitkamp’s vote against Kavanaugh has sealed her political fate in a state Donald Trump won by more than 30 percentage points in 2016.

In the days after Heitkamp announced her “no” vote, many of her Senate colleagues wrote fundraising emails on her behalf. One, authored by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), raised over $400,000 alone.

Heitkamp’s campaign now has more than $11.1 million on hand for the final weeks of a campaign in North Dakota, a state where airtime is cheap and the population is sparse. Heitkamp told HuffPost earlier this month she only needed to turn out between 150,000 and 160,000 supporters in order to win ― a much smaller total than a typical Senate contest.

Still, Heitkamp made it clear her vote against Kavanaugh wasn’t a political one.

“This has been a tough week for me,” Heitkamp said at a fundraiser in Wyndmere, North Dakota, the day after she cast her vote. “The political rhetoric is, ‘You can’t vote that way if you expect to come back.’ And I tell people, Ray and Doreen Heitkamp didn’t raise me to vote a certain way so that I could win. They raised me to vote the right way.”

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