Senator Heitkamp Holds Zero Recess Town Halls, But Sends Operatives To Republican Town Halls

2013-09-03 16.49.58

Rep. Kevin Cramer is the only member of North Dakota’s congressional delegation to hold in-person, open-forum, free-to-attend town halls during this August recess (in addition to his weekly, one-hour open phones gig on statewide talk radio). He held one of those town halls in Minot today at a coffee shop.

About the only newsworthy development from Cramer was his position on Syria (Cramer says if he had to vote today he’d say no to authorizing war, but he also said he’d have liked it if the President had called Congress back into session right away), but more interesting was who else was in attendance at Cramer’s event.

2013-09-03 17.11.57In the picture above (which is blurry thanks to my crappy camera phone which doesn’t work great in dim settings) you can see Rep. Cramer standing with a microphone on the left, and on the right a young woman in black named Heidi who Cramer acknowledged as a “tracker” sent there by North Dakota Democrats.

These sort of trackers aren’t unusual. They’ve become a staple of political campaigns in the digital age. They hope to catch someone like Cramer saying or doing something silly (or, at least, something they can make to seem silly) so they can put it on the internet and make political hay. Republicans do it too. That’s how the game works these days, and that’s just fine.

These are public events. There are worse things than political brawling over things politicians actually say and do in public.

But what’s interesting about the presence of this tracker at Rep. Cramer’s town hall is that Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation (indeed, the only Democrat elected to statewide office) has held exactly zero town hall events this August (other than that Twitter town hall flop which drew less than 10 participants). Nor does she have any planned.

Senator Heitkamp, in fact, is already back in Washington DC.

Which means that while Democrats are more than happy to send their operatives to Cramer’s town hall event (and I suspect a couple of the questioners there were Democrat plants given the scripts they were reading while asking questions, but whatever) Senator Heidi Heitkamp is unwilling to hold any events of her own.

That’s telling, isn’t it?

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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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