Sen. Mary Kathryn "Heidi" Heitkamp is the dirtiest and most ruthless campaigner that North Dakotans have seen. Her East Coast donors have spent millions of dollars to help her portray herself as a good old North Dakota small-town girl. But just as much time, money and effort is expended in smearing and destroying anyone who might challenge her political power.
Last week, when Rep. Kevin Cramer was still thought to be running for the Senate, Heitkamp's allies in Washington launched a smear campaign to label Cramer as "unethical." The complaint was that Cramer had used money that his campaign had raised to pay his family members who were working for the campaign. This is not taxpayer money we're talking about but rather campaign donations being used to pay people working for the campaign. There is absolutely no merit to this complaint whatsoever, but it served Heitkamp's purpose of putting Cramer's name next to the word "unethical" in a few news stories.
Last month, Heitkamp's allies in Washington pulled a similar stunt trying to smear state Senator Tom Campbell. They filed a nonsensical complaint alleging there was something wrong with Campbell standing in front of one of his company's trucks during one of his campaign's TV ads.
This is typical for any campaign involving Heitkamp. Her name may never be on any official complaint, but her supporters will be out there making up dirt and doing their best to create the appearance of scandal where none exists.
Anyone who stands between Heitkamp and a political office that she wants had better expect to have their reputation assaulted every week by the dirtiest campaigners this state has ever seen. Hopefully 2018 is the year North Dakotans will see through this charade and retire Heitkamp from the Senate.
Kerian lives in Grafton, N.D.