Monday, January 02, 2017

Heitkamp, other Democratic senators in Trump states unsure how to satisfy hunger for change

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.
"Like North Dakota’s whooping cranes and black-footed ferrets, Heidi Heitkamp is part of an endangered species," Margaret Carlson writes for Bloomberg View. "Less than two years from now, the first-term Democratic senator will be running for re-election in a state where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 36 percentage points. Even for a centrist as popular as Heitkamp, that’s a mountain to climb."

She has company. "Heitkamp is one of 25 Democrats defending U.S. Senate seats in a post-Trump world," Carlson notes. "A few weeks ago she had a dinner of Chinese takeout for colleagues from four other states that went overwhelmingly for Trump: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Montana’s Jon Tester. The consensus was that that there’s a fierce hunger for change that favored Trump and that Democratic candidates must find a way to satisfy it. No one was sure how."

As for Heitkamp, she "makes the case that she’s as representative of her constituents as any Republican presidential candidate," Carlson reports. "She lives in the state, commuting to Washington. She was speaking for rural voters before Trump came on the scene. Her challenge is to keep doing so without looking like she’s rolling with the Trump tide."

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