I’m seeing and hearing an increasingly troubling trend among those who support Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer for U.S. Senate over Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp. I’d simply sum it up as overconfidence. It’s often expressed in phrases like…
“Put a fork in her!”
The list goes on.
With polling coming out early this month showing Congressman Cramer with a double digit lead of 10 points over the embattled Democrat, it seems phrases like these have increased in frequency. A FOX News poll had him up by 12 points. And that was before Senator Heitkamp voted in opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That move alone could prove costly. After all, it was reported that one in three voters polled said they were less likely to vote for Heitkamp if she didn’t support Kavanaugh.
All of this — together with a host of other issues — certainly seem to point to trouble for Heidi Heitkamp. Even CNN — that bastion of liberal propaganda — is reporting that Heitkamp is fighting for her political life.
Yet, despite the political polls and pundits seemingly favoring a Kevin Cramer victory on November 6th, I’d suggest that his campaign, and those among us who support him, should exercise extreme caution about becoming too confident. There are still 26 days to the general election. In the world of politics, that can often be an eternity.
We need look no further than the 2012 general election in which Heidi Heitkamp eked out a victory over her Republican challenger Rick Berg by less than 3,000 votes. Just 17 days prior to that election, The Forum reported that Berg was polling 10 points ahead of Heitkamp. In addition to this, those who paid any attention to the 2016 Presidential Election should know that sometimes polls don’t mean squat. If they did, Hillary Clinton would be our President. I shutter at the thought— but I digress.
By all counts, the 2012 U.S. Senate race was a squeaker. Though he narrowly lost the popular vote, Berg won 29 counties to Heitkamp’s 24. Fast forward to 2018 and Cramer has to do better. His biggest challenge will come in the Eastern part of the state. For example, Heitkamp dominated the highly populated Cass and Grand Forks counties in 2012. And for those who like polls, if recent numbers released by Democrats are accurate, Heitkamp is on track to pummel Cramer in places like these. That should be concerning to Republicans. Cramer doesn’t have to win these places, but he has to pull enough votes to win in the overall total.
Now, it may very well be that Cramer comes out on top in the general election. But is there an advantage to being overly confident that he will? I don’t believe that there is. There’s plenty of time between now and election day. Kevin Cramer, his campaign staff, and those who prefer him over Heitkamp need to run this political race all the way through the finish line. Celebrations should be saved for victory parties. After all, the only polling that matters is the one being held on November 6th.