The consultant noted that Campbell’s main challenge will be fundraising. He has shown a willingness to donate to his own campaign. According to the latest Federal Election Commission documents from the end of September, Campbell had already loaned his campaign $425,000. He had $171,000 in cash on hand, though his latest fundraising numbers have not yet been released.
Despite Cramer and two other potential woman candidates passing on the race, one GOP strategist with knowledge of the North Dakota race argued that Heitkamp was still vulnerable. The strategist pointed to the state’s GOP leaning and Trump’s popularity there.
His decision leaves the GOP field to state Sen. Tom Campbell, who is also independently wealthy. Campbell is a co-founder of Campbell Farms and chairman of Choice Financial Banks Holding Company. He said he supports Trump’s agenda.
Heitkamp’s latest numbers have also not been released, but at the end of September she had nearly $3.8 million in the bank, and had raised more than $4.4. million.
“With today’s announcement, now is the time for North Dakota conservatives to focus squarely on defeating Senator Heitkamp this November, and I am committed to doing exactly that,” Campbell said in a statement. “I look forward to providing Kevin with a conservative partner in the Senate after I defeat Senator Heitkamp.”
Correction, Jan. 11, 2018, 2:30 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of “The Scott Hennen Show.”
“And while it’s still a robust campaign, there’s still lots of work to do, it’s far less intense than flying around the country for the next few months, every weekend going to Chicago, New York, cities far away to raise adequate funds to run,” Cramer said.
“It doesn’t change the fact that Heidi represents a state Trump won by 36 points and she has failed to support his agenda,” the strategist said.
One GOP consultant who has worked in North Dakota said Cramer’s announcement could make the race more difficult for Republicans.