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REAL SOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATION

death and life of education

Why Blue America Never Endorsed Heidi Heitkamp Last Year

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Early last year very few people thought the Democrats would be able to hold the North Dakota Senate seat which Kent Conrad was giving up. In 2008, Obama only won 45% of the vote there (and this year he wound up with an even more dismal 39%, winning only 6 of the state's 53 counties). It's a red state turning redder. But Heidi Heitkamp was the perfect candidate for the seat-- a populist firebrand against the super-wealthy corporate hack the GOP was running. And Heitkamp did win, beating Rep. Rick Berg 160,752 to 157,758 and taking 24 counties, including the entire eastern part of the state.

Heitkamp wasn't just the better of two evils in this race. She was clearly better than Berg, on of the worst Members of the 112th Congress and seemed marginally better than the retiring Kent Conrad as well. Here at DWT we wrote about the campaign and about how terrible Berg is and how much better Heitkamp is. But we never seriously considered endorsing her to the extent of asking anyone to send her campaign money. Why not: we knew she would be a problem on key issues where it would mean political suicide in North Dakota to stand with progressives. And one has come up already: the NRA jihad against America. North Dakota has a long way to go before people there will understand the need for gun control-- a very long way.

Sunday she was on This Week With George Stephanopoulos and she sounded like an NRA supporter on the issue of gun control. “I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration-- and if the Washington Post is to be believed-- that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about.  And it’s not going to pass." And right from the NRA talking point book: "Let’s start addressing the problem.  And to me, one of the issues that I think comes-- screams out of this is the issue of mental health and the care for the mentally ill in our country, especially the dangerously mentally ill.  And so we need to have a broad discussion before we start talking about gun control."

Ads from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence are going up in Washington and North Dakota. The ads (above) will probably encourage support for her back home... if anyone remembers in 2018, when she next has to run for office.
Parents of three students killed in separate mass shootings have signed onto an ad chiding newly elected U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for critical comments the North Dakota Democrat made about gun restrictions being considered by the Obama administration.

The ads from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence reference shootings in Newtown, Conn., Oak Creek, Wis., Aurora, Colo., Tuscon, Ariz. and at Virginia Tech University. It includes a photo of a hillside memorial for victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown.

Beneath the photo, the ad's text reads in part, "Shame on you, Senator Heidi Heitkamp for telling the country on Sunday that the Obama administration's response to Newtown-- which may include universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines-- is 'extreme."

It is signed by parents of victims in Aurora, Tucson and at Virginia Tech.

...In a statement, Heitkamp spokeswoman Whitney Phillips responded to the ad by saying Heitkamp believes any solution to mass shootings must go beyond focusing solely on gun laws.

"The discussion must examine mental health, school security, and community development to help parents identify and address children potentially suffering from mental illness," Phillips said. "Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America."
John Aravosis pointed she's a card-carrying NRA member who "came to the US Senate already bought-and-sold by the NRA." She'll be an ally on some issues... but clearly not a Blue America candidate-- which is why didn't endorse her.

UPDATE: Heitkamp Backs Down From The Extremism Bullshit

After the ads ran, Heitkamp issued this statement:

“Senator Heitkamp believes that Americans have a right to bear arms. But with that right, come responsibilities. And we have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, while protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners. Senator Heitkamp also believes that the problem of violence in America must be dealt with in a multifaceted way. While every option must be considered there is no one single answer. The discussion and ultimate solution to these mass violence tragedies must go beyond a singular focus on gun laws, and that the discussion must examine mental health, school security, and community development to help parents identify and address children potentially suffering from mental illness. Senator Heitkamp has clearly stated that all options must be on the table when it comes to addressing gun violence in America.”

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Original author: DownWithTyranny
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