Seems productive. Her vote didn’t stop Kavanaugh and might very well have doomed her in a must-win state for Democrats, but here’s 12 million bucks that would have been more useful to Phil Bredesen or Bill Nelson as gratitude for being part of the Resistance.
It’s the candidate equivalent of one of those insanely lucrative GoFundMe campaigns for Trump enemies like Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok. There is no bottom to the reservoir of ResistanceBucks.
What’s ex-Senator Heitkamp gonna do with all of this campaign dough? Unlike Beto!, another lavishly funded lost-cause hero, she doesn’t have a presidential run to plan.
Heitkamp’s haul in that short period was more than three times what the senator had raised during the previous fundraising quarter, when she brought in $3.7 million over three months.
The disclosure filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission indicated that after Heitkamp announced her decision to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, the number of donors to her campaign spiked. While Heitkamp received an average of 221 donations a day in early October, she received an average of more than 3,000 donations per day on and after Oct. 4, the day she said she would vote no…
Cramer reported raising $603,345 during the first 17 days of October, dramatically less than Heitkamp’s take, and the Republican entered the final days of the campaign with $976,045 cash on hand. Heitkamp ended the reporting period with about $11 million on hand.
The punchline here is that Heitkamp’s goose was pretty well cooked even before she announced her no vote on Kavanaugh. I had forgotten that but a glance at the polling on RCP reminded me of it. Heitkamp, as noted, said she’d oppose Kavanaugh on October 4. However, a poll taken in North Dakota from September 17-27 suddenly showed her trailing Republican Kevin Cramer by 10 points, after an earlier poll in mid-September had put Cramer up by just four. Then came a poll from Fox News conducted from September 29 to October 2 giving Cramer a 12-point lead. (The most recent one, taken from October 12-19, had him up 16.)
So she had already begun to fade badly before her intentions on Kavanaugh were clear, which itself was probably due to a “Kavanaugh effect”: North Dakota Republicans, angry about the last-minute hit on the nominee by Schumer’s caucus, had apparently begun to shift right in response irrespective of Heitkamp’s own vote. Seeing that, Heitkamp figured she might as well vote no and lock down her base, then hope against hope that the Kavanaugh issue would fade before the election and restore her to contention. There’s no sign of that happening — but liberal donors did give her an exorbitant going-away present.
I wonder how many of them regretted kicking in after Team Heitkamp concluded that a smart thing to do would be to publish the names of sexual-assault victims without their consent in order to try to land a shot on Cramer.
Anyway. What does the richest soon-to-be-former member of the Senate do with her windfall? Her financial wherewithal now is so much greater than Cramer’s that she could go for broke and flood North Dakota media with ads from now until Election Day to try to pull out the upset. I’d bet, though, that Chuck Schumer is whispering in her ear about cutting some checks instead to Team Bredesen, Team Nelson, Team McCaskill, Team Donnelly, and, er, maybe Team Menendez in New Jersey. Asking a politician to accept the end of her political career for the good of the team when there’s still technically a chance at victory is asking an awful lot. It’d be easier if Democrats held the White House and could promise Heitkamp some federal appointment in exchange, but what can they offer her right now?
She’ll probably end up doing what all liberals nowadays seem to end up doing: Clearing out their bank accounts, handing it all over to Beto, and hoping for a miracle in Texas.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s a clip that doesn’t fit anywhere else but which made me laugh — Heitkamp’s colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, the most obvious presidential aspirant in the Senate, insisting at a debate that she’ll serve six years if New Yorkers reelect her this fall. Maybe that’s what Heitkamp will do with her cash, getting behind a 2020 candidate earlier, filling up his/her coffers, and hoping her gamble pays off with victory. Then she’ll get a federal appointment.