North Dakota Senate Candidate Hides Her Party Affiliation
Standing on the deck of her comfortable home on the bank of the Missouri River in Mandan, N.D., Heitkamp points to a massive cottonwood tree growing by the river's edge in her backyard. "It's an enormous tree and it's been there a long, long time. We always like to tell people we think Lewis and Clark stopped and maybe leaned against it to check out the river," says Heitkamp.
Heitkamp is a former state tax commissioner and attorney general. She lost a campaign for governor, but won a fight against breast cancer. Now 56, she's running for statewide office again.
This week, Heitkamp released a campaign ad about a convicted rapist she tried to keep locked up. Nowhere in the spot does Heitkamp mention her Democratic party affiliation. And she's been highly critical of President Obama, questioning his energy policy and criticizing him for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Recently she raised eyebrows in Washington when she said the president has failed to unite the country. In a recent interview with NPR, Heitkamp clarified those remarks: "What I said is ... that the president was handed a test, which was uniting the country, and we're even more divided than we were, I think, in 2008. And that is a source of great concern to the American public."