In a politically fraught decision Thursday just a month before the
"In my judgment,
Heitkamp said she "without hesitation" believed Dr.
Heitkamp, locked in a difficult re-election battle with Republican
Heitkamp downplayed the politics of the vote, even as she noted it would have been easier to back Kavanaugh .
"If this were a political decision for me I certainly would be deciding this the other way," she said.
Heitkamp has waged a campaign attacking the third-term congressman as being a Trump acolyte and herself as an independent-minded Democrat. She voted in 2017 to confirm Trump's first nominee to the high court,
Cramer's team jumped on Heitkamp's announcement, with an email blast reminder of Trump's visit to
Despite Cramer's instinct to pounce, pollsters with insight into the national
That by no means suggests that Heitkamp, fighting an uphill battle in the state Trump carried by 36 points, is surging ahead.
"It could put some energy back into her base and demonstrate to them that she's fighting the fight," said
It was noteworthy, Goeas said, that Heitkamp's brother Joel, who hosts a
"For the men out there, maybe the campaign felt they needed to hear from him," Goeas said.
"The worst thing you can do in
The decision also could appeal to socially conservative independents turned off by the tawdry nature of the allegations against Kavanaugh, Democratic pollster
Heitkamp said she made her decision Thursday morning after reviewing the FBI's supplemental file to the
Heitkamp said that "led to this question of truthfulness." She said she also believed Kavanaugh "was overly evasive and had a selective memory."
"I agree with her, because I think Kavanaugh is lying," he said.
But Gunsch said she wasn't going to vote for Heitkamp anyway because the senator supports abortion rights.