WASHINGTON (Gray DC) President-elect Donald Trump met with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in New York City on Friday, sparking speculation that she could hold a position in his administration.
"President-elect Trump and I had a thoughtful and wide ranging discussion on a variety of issues important to North Dakota and the country,” Sen. Heitkamp said in a statement.
The first-term Senator is one of a handful of elected Democrats who made the trip to Trump Tower.
"When the president-elect calls you, you agree to meet," Heitkamp said to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
The Senator would not tell reporters whether she would accept a post in a Trump administration, but when the Senator sat down with Gray Television's Samantha-Jo Roth following the election, she expressed a willingness to work with the President-elect.
"After we chose our new leadership, it's critically important that everyone involved put their best effort forward to make this country work," Heitkamp said in the interview.
Sen. Heitkamp offered an explanation as to why Democrats nationwide performed so poorly in the election.
“I believe that for too long particularly people in my party have ignored rural America and its time we correct that," Sen. Heitkamp said.
So, what is President-elect Donald Trump's motivation in considering Sen. Heitkamp, other than the appearance of reaching across party lines?
“It would open up Heitkamp's Senate seat, probably would allow Republicans to win that seat in a special election that would be held a few months after Heitkamp would get appointed," said Kyle Kondik with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Kondik said Heitkamp's departure would be a further blow to Democrats' hopes of retaking the majority in 2018. Although, accepting the position could benefit the North Dakota Senator, who faces a tough re-election in two years.
“She's probably going to draw a top tier opponent. I know, at-large Rep. Kevin Cramer is sort of been talked about," Kondik explained. "Whereas if she were a cabinet secretary, she could be in the job as many as eight years potentially.”
Although, Kondik admits Sen. Heitkamp still has the upper-hand in 2018 because of her status as the incumbent and a changing political climate.
“I think it makes her prospects for re-election a little bit brighter because those same dynamics that work against the president's party, that worked against Obama in 2010, 2014, now will potentially work against the Republicans in 2018," Kondik said.