North Dakota Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp is considered one of the most vulnerable of this election cycle. Recent polls have her trailing her challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, by 1.6 points according to the RealClearPolitics average. But Cramer’s recent comments defending embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh or downplaying the sexual assault allegations against him have given Heitkamp a lifeline.
Heitkamp’s campaign sent out the following fundraising email specifically targeting female voters:
The most recent poll for this race, done by Fox News almost two weeks ago, showed a gender gap – women preferred Heitkamp by 7 and men preferred Cramer by 15. However, the national gender gap in generic congressional polls is much higher – men prefer Republicans by 1 and women prefer Democrats by 16, according to a recent Economist/YouGov poll.
Whether or not these comments make Cramer this cycle’s Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock remains to be seen. If Heitkamp can make an issue out of these comments and begin to work the gender gap more in her favor, this could wind up being the moment that turned the race.