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Senator Apologizes for 'Flagrant Error of Campaign'

Heitkamp's ad misidentified abuse victims
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 17, 2018 12:31 AM CDT
This combination of photos shows North Dakota Senate candidates, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, left, during a campaign stop in Grand Forks, and her Republican challenger Kevin Cramer at a campaign stop...   (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy, File)
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(Newser) – Sen. Heidi Heitkamp apologized Tuesday for misidentifying victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape who were listed in a recent North Dakota newspaper ad aimed at her opponent. The Democrat, who is facing a tough race for re-election, said in a statement that she had recently learned that several of the women named in the ad either hadn't authorized it or are not survivors of abuse, the AP reports. "This was incompetent. It was wrong. It should have never happened," Heitkamp told Rob Port, a conservative blogger and frequent Heitkamp critic, on his radio talk show Tuesday. "It was a very flagrant error of the campaign and I own it."

The flap over the newspaper ad comes at a sensitive time for Heitkamp, who has been trying to explain to voters why she opposed confirming Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The vote has emboldened Republican challenger Kevin Cramer in his effort to label the incumbent as too liberal for the conservative state. On the talk show, Heitkamp apologized several times for the ad, which she said she hadn't seen before publication. She said she was reaching out to those affected by it but would understand if they didn't want to talk to her. Heitkamp said she was investigating how her campaign obtained the names. She said they may have come from a "Facebook feed" that was forwarded to the campaign. Cramer called his opponent's ad a "revictimization of victims."

(Read more Heidi Heitkamp stories.)

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