Heidi Heitkamp Still Playing The Breast Cancer Card In Senate Race


A week ago liberal Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp unveiled a bizarre ad in which she invoked her past battle with breast cancer as a shield against criticism of her record on Obamacare.

This week a reader forwards to me a fundraising pitch, sent out by the candidate’s sister, which again invokes breast cancer. Here’s the text of the pitch:

I’ll never forget the day twelve years ago when my sister Heidi gathered the family at our lakeside cabin, and told us all the devastating news … that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

All of us took the news very hard. In the end, it was Heidi that began comforting us, saying she wasn’t going to sit around feeling sorry for herself. Heidi beat cancer, and I saw firsthand her determination and tireless effort, qualities that I know she will use to do what’s best for North Dakotans.

Sending Heidi to the Senate will come down to getting her message out to voters from the oil patch in the far west to the Red River Valley in the east, and everywhere in between. They need to know the real Heidi — not the distorted image crafted by Karl Rove.

Heidi’s released a new ad that tells her story, and what she stands for. The more people who see it, the greater its impact will be.

That why I hope you’ll watch the ad now, and take a minute to share it on Facebook or forward this email to your friends and family.

Heidi loves North Dakota and the wonderful people who live here. North Dakotans were there for my sister twelve years ago, and I know she’s grateful to have us standing with her now. I hope you’ll click here to watch the new ad now.

Thanks for everything,

Holly Heitkamp

It’s ironic that the fundraising pitch mentions that North Dakotans were “there for” Heitkamp 12 years ago after she announced she had breast cancer. That was in the midst of her 2000 campaign for governor, a contest she lost.

I’m sure we’re all glad that Heitkamp beat cancer and is, by all accounts, healthy now. I know I am. While I think Heitkamp would be a terrible leader for the state and the nation, I wish her no personal misfortune.

That being said, invoking this illness as inoculation against criticism is beyond crass, especially for a candidate who fashions herself as appealing to feminists. A woman playing at victim, and casting men like Karl Rove and her opponent Rick Berg as attacking her, is hardly in keeping with feminist ideals.

But hey, whatever it takes to win, right? If there’s one thing that can be said about Heitkamp it’s that she is ruthlessly ambitious.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • http://nofreelunch.areavoices.com/ Kevin Flanagan

    Only rich people can afford lakeside estates like the Heitkamps

  • Grandmamarge

    I didn’t vote for her then and I won’t vote for her now. I do not believe what she says

  • $141015

    I was talking to some farmers from western ND, they said no way in hell they would vote for her.

  • Rick Olson

    I didn’t vote for Heidi for governor in 2000, her political party notwithstanding.  I simply thought that John Hoeven was the better candidate.  Today, in her race for the U.S. Senate against Congressman Rick Berg, I really haven’t seen anything from Heidi Heitkamp that would convince me to vote for her.

    Rick Berg has my vote for the U.S. Senate.

  • badlands4

    I hate the victim card. I have a dead child and a neuroloigical disorder. Does that mean I should be head of HHS? My husband is retired from the military. Does that mean he should be Secretary of Defense?

    Her breast cancer makes her neither qualified, nor unqualified to be a senator and the only reason she is throwing it out there is to play the victim card.

    I am truly happy for her and for her family that she was able to beat this. As a person with a relative who has been fighting breast cancer for several years, it gives you hope to see someone who successfully beat it but simply having some kind of medical issue doesn’t automatically make you qualified for anything.

    • Dakotacyr

      No but what it does is allow you to talk others about what is like to have had a death of a child, to have a disease or neurological disorder, Cancer and the values of liberty. To be able to live your life in this country with your health is part of being free and having liberty

  • Dakotacyr

    Rob, I don’t see you criticizing Romney when his wife brings up her breast cancer and MS at republican fundraisers.