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Heitkamp misses roll-call vote for Clinton because of scheduling

BISMARCK - North Dakota's delegates to the Democratic National Convention awarded 14 votes to Bernie Sanders and seven votes to Hillary Clinton as she clinched the presidential nomination Tuesday, but the state's most prominent Democrat missed th...

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U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.
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BISMARCK – North Dakota’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention awarded 14 votes to Bernie Sanders and seven votes to Hillary Clinton as she clinched the presidential nomination Tuesday, but the state’s most prominent Democrat missed the roll-call vote because of a previous commitment, a spokeswoman said.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a superdelegate who signed a letter in 2013 urging Clinton to run for president and endorsed her last December, still “strongly supports” the former secretary of state for president, according to a statement from Heitkamp’s office.

“Sen. Heitkamp had previous commitments at the convention, including speaking at events focused on energy, rural America, and Native communities – all priorities for North Dakota,” the statement said.

North Dakota sent 18 pledged delegates to Philadelphia, along with four superdelegates who were free to vote as they chose. A fifth superdelegate, Renee Pfenning of Bismarck, did not attend, citing personal reasons.

Thirteen of the 18 pledged delegates were pledged to Sanders and five were pledged to Clinton, based proportionately on results of the June 7 statewide presidential preference caucus in which delegates gave Sanders a 253-101 victory.

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Of the four superdelegates, Dem-NPL chairwoman Kylie Oversen of Grand Forks and vice chairman Warren Larson of Bismarck voted for Clinton and national committeeman Chad Nodland of Bismarck voted for Sanders, Oversen said via text message from the convention floor.

Oversen reported the state’s vote during the roll call for the party’s presidential nomination. Oversen, like speakers from other states, boasted about her state. North Dakota is home to “five beautiful tribal nations” and is the birthplace of the Nonpartisan League movement, Oversen said.

Last weekend, Sanders delegate Jeffrey Eide of Fargo sent media a copy of a resolution signed by all 13 Sanders delegates condemning Heitkamp for her refusal to endorse the Vermont senator. The resolution, sent to the Dem-NPL and Heitkamp’s office, stated that Heitkamp’s refusal to endorse Sanders was “disrespectful to the people of our great state, disrespectful to the political process, and does not reflect the values of the (party).”

Heitkamp, whose Senate term expires in 2018, also has been targeted by North Dakota Republicans for her support of Clinton, whose views the GOP says would hurt the state’s oil, coal and agriculture sectors.

North Dakota’s 28 delegates to last week’s Republican National Convention awarded 21 votes to nominee Donald Trump, six votes to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and one vote to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple presented the state’s vote count during last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he pointed to UND’s national championship men’s hockey team and the five-time defending national champion North Dakota State University football team. He added North Dakota was the only state to grow younger last year.

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