Republican candidate Kevin Cramer and his Democratic opponent, Heidi Heitkamp, continue to clash over abortion in North Dakota’s U.S. Senate race.
Heitkamp’s support for late-term abortion presents an easy target for Cramer, in a state where 56% of voters favor a late-term abortion ban.
Cramer recently launched a TV ad on the subject, reports The Atlantic. In a 30-second spot titled “Respecting Life,” Cramer’s pregnant daughter criticizes Heitkamp for her opposition to a late-term abortion ban in the Senate earlier this year. The ad features footage of Heitkamp celebrating with Democrat Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor after the bill failed.
“She looked like she was celebrating. Late-term abortion, can you imagine?” Cramer’s daughter asks as she places her hands on her pregnant belly.
Late-term abortion has remained at the center of North Dakota’s Senate race as Republicans have continued to highlight Heitkamp’s vacillating views on the issue. In 2012, during her first Senate contest, the Democrat stated that she opposed late-term abortion “except when necessary to save the life of the mother.” By 2015, however, she had voted to block a second-trimester abortion ban.
When John McCormack, a Weekly Standard reporter, asked Heitkamp about her evolving views, she refused to discuss the topic.
Heitkamp’s weaknesses offer hope for North Dakota Republicans, who helped Donald Trump to a 63% victory in the state in 2016. A victory for Cramer could increase Republicans’ Senate majority in November. Current polls put the contest within the margin of error: Inside Elections, a nonpartisan campaign analytics organization, has reclassified the race from “tossup” to “tilts Republican.”
President Trump plans to visit North Dakota later this week to fund-raise for Cramer. The White House had encouraged Cramer to abandon his House seat to run against Heitkamp–a political gamble which appears increasingly likely to pay off.