Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., won the first quarter of 2018 and holds the cash-on-hand lead for fundraising in North Dakota’s U.S. Senate race, according to fundraising figures released by the campaigns of both Heitkamp and her opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
Heitkamp’s campaign said it had raised $1.6 million in the first quarter, ending with $5.3 million in cash on hand.
According to Cramer’s campaign, about $1.135 million was raised during the year’s first quarter — the sum of contributions both before and after his decision seek the Senate. He had initially announced that he would seek re-election to the House. In all, his campaign had $1.86 million on hand as of March 31.
"One vote does matter in the Senate — it matters to the folks in North Dakota with pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma or diabetes and it matters to the farmers and ranchers who are staring down a potential trade war that could deeply impact their livelihoods,” Sean Higgins, a Heitkamp campaign spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “It's these folks Heidi fights for in the Senate, and it's North Dakota she always puts first.”
Despite Heitkamp’s edge, Cramer’s campaign noted that 95 percent of his first-quarter haul came after he announced for the Senate race in mid-February, implying a potent fundraising pace.
“This election is important to North Dakota and the nation,” Tim Rasmussen, a Cramer campaign spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is at stake. Republicans have a 51-to-49 majority, so one vote matters. Our supporters realize how important it is to maintain a conservative majority in order to advance a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda in Washington.”
The Cramer campaign’s release stated that about 60 percent of first-quarter donors were North Dakota-based. Higgins, pressed for a response, said that figure was not yet available for the Heitkamp campaign but that “we've taken thousands of contributions from North Dakotans this cycle.”