Port: I guess misogyny is OK as long as it's directed at Republican women?

Since Cara Mund is focused on misogynistic political attacks, her silence on misogyny from her close political ally Joel Heitkamp has been interesting to observe, Rob Port writes.

Armstrong-Mund debate.2
Independent challenger Cara Mund debates North Dakota US House Republican Incumbent Kelly Armstrong on Oct. 11, 2022, at Memorial Union on the NDSU campus.
Chris Flynn / The Forum
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINOT, N.D. — U.S. House candidate Cara Mund has made misogyny one of her central campaign planks.

Since entering the House race, first as an independent candidate, and then as the de facto Democratic-NPL candidate, she's made much of the abuse she's subjected to on social media.

The invective aimed at Mund is inexcusable, of course, though not uncommon for public figures in this very-online age of American politics, whatever their gender.

I'm fairly certain that North Dakota voters would rather hear about what Mund will do in Congress on issues like energy and agriculture and trade.

Be that as it may, since Mund is focused on misogynistic political attacks, her silence on misogyny from her close political ally Joel Heitkamp has been interesting to observe.


Recently a group of Republican elected leaders, all of them women, wrote a letter to the state's newspapers objecting to Mund's suggestions that her opponent, incumbent Republican Kelly Armstrong, is a woman-hater, and that women aren't welcome in the NDGOP.

"It's going to be painful, but Republicans can't just turn away from Trump. Republicans have to lead their people away from Trumpism and the morass of conspiracy-addled grievance and unvarnished racism it has become," Rob Port writes.
The greatest cost of this scandal to our state isn't measured in dollars so much as lost trust in our public servants.
Sen. David Hogue and Rep. Mike Lefor, the newly elected majority leaders of North Dakota's Senate and House chambers, respectively, joined this episode of Plain Talk to discuss the upcoming legislative session.
Democrats have embraced early voting, to their benefit. Republicans, following Trump's lead, have not, and it's hurting them.
If we're lucky, Trump's sway over the GOP will fade away, allowing the party to return to its status as the far more dignified opponent of Democratic rule in the future.

"To imply that women have no role — as Ms. Mund and her supporters have asserted — not only disparages our colleague Kelly Armstrong, it also ignores the contributions and achievements of our 110 combined years of public service to the people of North Dakota, as well as the contributions of the many women who came before us," they wrote .

That this rebuttal was devastating for Mund's complaints was evidenced by Heitkamp spending more than an hour of a recent show ranting about it. Mund herself even joined as a guest, but at no point has she raised objections to Heitkamp suggesting that the female authors didn't willingly write the letter.

Heitkamp, during one diatribe, implied that a man wrote the letter for them. He repeated the slur in a blog post on his radio station's website. "When they could’ve been helping her up, they instead were instructed to push her down," he wrote.


He also claimed that these women actually agree with Mund but are "afraid" to say so.

These women are just doing what their men tell them, claims Heitkamp.

Want to talk about misogyny? That, my friends, is misogyny.


Nor is it out of character for Heitkamp, sadly.

One of the letter's signatories is state Sen. Nicole Poolman, who has represented a Bismarck-area legislative district for a decade. In the 2016 election cycle, she was chosen by gubernatorial candidate Wayne Stenehjem to be his running mate.

At the time, by way of deriding Stenehjem's pick, Heitkamp suggested on his show that the only thing Poolman had ever contributed to Republican politics was making goodies for bake sales.

If Cara Mund is possessed the sort of character she'd like we voters to believe she has, if she truly had the courage of her convictions, and a willingness to stand up for all women, including those who eschew her left-of-center politics, she'd call out her ally Heitkamp for his history of ugly attacks on Republican women.

Unfortunately, Mund doesn't, so she won't.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
What to read next
Members meet monthly to discuss news issues and newspaper policies, suggest story ideas and debate ethical situations involving the newsroom.
Ann Bailey explains why she's thankful for agriculture in professional and personal life.
"Does North Dakota really want women with complicated pregnancies to suffer? Does North Dakota really want a critical shortage of qualified obstetricians and to imprison doctors?" columnist Jim Shaw asks. "The legislature must act."
"I recently asked Lynn Helms, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Director for the facts that rarely get reported," columnist Scott Hennen writes. "Helms tells us there is a full-on assault against our oil and gas industry in North Dakota coming from the Biden Administration."