Heidi Heitkamp campaign apologizes for newspaper ad that identified sexual assault victims

Published: Oct. 16, 2018 at 9:04 AM CDT
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The Heidi Heitkamp campaign is on defense this morning after several sexual assault victims say their name was used in an open letter to Kevin Cramer in several newspapers without their consent. The ad was paid for by the Heitkamp campaign.

The campaign says it worked with advocates to identify women who would sign the letter to Kevin Cramer. The newspaper ad was formulated as an open letter to Cramer and attempted to attack the congressman for comments he made during the confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The campaign now admits it improperly identified victims of sexual assault or abuse and is now apologizing. Cramer is a republican who is challenging democrat Heitkamp for the US Senate and recent polling by Valley News Live shows Cramer leading the senator by 10 points.

Women identified in the letter made several Facebook posts saying their were upset over being named as an abuse victim.

Tuesday morning the Heitkamp campaign was forced to issue a public apology over the ad. The statement can be seen below. Valley News Live also reached out to the Heitkamp campaign with specific questions about how something like this happened. As of this writing we have not received a response.

Valley News Live will not be posting the ad to help keep the victim's identities hidden.


Heidi for North Dakota Statement on Newspaper Ad:

FARGO, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp issued the following statement regarding the campaign’s recent newspaper ad:

“Sexual assault is a serious crime – and one that too many North Dakota women have experienced. In an attempt to bring awareness to this issue and push back against dismissive comments toward sexual assault survivors by Kevin Cramer, our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story. We recently discovered that several of the women's names who were provided to us did not authorize their names to be shared or were not survivors of abuse. I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again.”