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Once again, it’s campaign season and the surrogates are rolling in to support both candidates. This week, Vice President Mike Pence came to campaign for Rep. Kevin Cramer’s U.S. Senate campaign, and that inevitably means criticizing Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

But it’s worth remembering what Pence said on his last visit to North Dakota — before all the partisan silliness that comes with campaign season.

When he visited Minot Air Force Base just a few months ago, Pence called  Heitkamp a “strong leader” and noted that he and President Donald Trump share a “great relationship” with her.

So why the games and mudslinging, now?

I, for one, agree with what Pence said about Heitkamp — she really is a strong leader for North Dakota. She’s worked across the aisle to crack down on human trafficking, protect Social Security and Medicare, and — as a breast cancer survivor — voted to protect health care for folks with pre-existing conditions.

That’s the type of strong leadership North Dakota needs.

Barry Nelson, Fargo

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