Heidi Heitkamp stood at the microphone at the Washington Press Club Dinner and said, “You’re asking yourself, ‘How did this middle-aged, red-headed Democrat win a United States Senate seat in a red state that the president lost by 21 points?’” (Roberts, Roxanne and Amy Argetsinger). Her question had all the charisma and wit that captures an audience’s attention but behind this self effacing humor there is a kernel of truth. How did Heitkamp, a Democrat, manage to become the Senator of North Dakota in a predominately Republican state with a margin of one percent and approximately 3,000 votes? Running on a platform of balance and bipartisanship, Heitkamp worked to distance herself from the President and the Democratic Party. By utilizing local issues and local level campaign tactics to forge a connection with her fellow North Dakotans, she managed to win the election against all odds.

Advertisements