Can Heidi Heitkamp still pull it out? Did Republican opponent Kevin Cramer just hand her a life raft? A CNN panel discussed her chances this week:
"Patrick, Dana lays it out perfectly, the stakes here, she was already down 12 points to Kramer. Do you think what you see, the writing is on the wall for Heitkamp?"
"It's going to be tough," NYT reporter Patrick Healy said. "She has a terrific reputation in North Dakota, she won, yes, by a sliver. But she has a lot of respect on both sides there, the problem is, you know, right now is whether she can refocus the debate back on to local terms, on to issues like tariffs and the way they're hitting the soybean belt in North Dakota. I mean, Kevin Kramer talked to my colleague Jonathan Martin this weekend, and made that comment about how #MeToo was like a 'movement toward victimization.'
"Cramer has a habit of making remarks that are really striking. There's a debate about this, a dispute about this, but whether Heitkamp can refocus things on issues is yet to be seen."
"That gets to an issue here, where is -- don't tell me every race is different," Kate Bolduan said. "Go with me on this. Donald Trump says he wants the election to be about him, when Mitch McConnell says that he wants to thank Democrats for the tactics they used during the Kavanaugh proceedings. It was the shot in the arm they needed. Republican voters are energized, do you think you can ride the Kavanaugh vote all the way to the midterms?"
"Well, based on what I'm seeing with Republicans, there's been a massive boost in Republicans finally focusing on what life would be like if Democrats were to take control," former GOP staffer Scott Jennings said.
"This hearing exposed a very scary future under Democratic control. So I think it reminded Republicans what's at stake. I think in a place like North Dakota, though, take Kavanaugh out of the equation, she was already running seriously uphill. Trump won the state by 36 points. She votes with Trump about half the time. Kavanaugh aside, I think she was trying to be something -- she's a liberal running in a state that wants a conservative, and that was always going to be a problem for her."
"She's not a liberal, she's a moderate, Scott," Joan Walsh said.
"I want to say -- to go back to what Patrick referred to, the interview that Kevin Cramer did with Jonathan Martin, he railed against the #MeToo culture of victimization. But he said something kind of awful, that his wife and his mother and the women in his family want no part of it because they're not victims, they're tough women.
"That struck a nerve with a lot of women. He's in danger of turning himself into the Todd Akin of 2018 with that remark. And Senator Heitkamp lost it with Jonathan Martin because she heard that as saying her mother, who was sexually assaulted, was not tough. That victims are not tough. So I think he's stepped in it now, it's going to be tough for her, but it was tough before."
"To be fair, she didn't lose it emotionally but she reacted in a very direct way that I think can resonate with a lot of women and a lot of men, which is, this has happened in my family and making judgements about other people and whether they're strong enough or victim enough is outrageous," Healy said.
The odds are against her. Right before the Kavanaugh vote, Heitkamp was down from 10 to 12 points in two polls. She's going to have enough money to fight back, though. Look at how Heitkamp's donations spiked after she voted against Kavanaugh:
And now, this:
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