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Dem senator to meet with Trump

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat about to face a difficult reelection in 2018, will meet with President-elect Donald Trump in New York as he continues to take meetings to shape his Cabinet.

{mosads}Trump transition aide Jason Miller confirmed the meeting on a Thursday call with reporters but did not add any information as to what they would speak about.

Following the announcement of their meeting, Heitkamp’s office sent a statement that she is willing to work with Trump and Republicans in “whatever job I do.”

When asked if she would consider a Cabinet appointment, Heitkamp told reporters Thursday afternoon it’s “way premature” to discuss it but noted the importance of “bipartisan cooperation.”

“I think that when the president-elect asks you to come to visit with him, it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk about mutual goals and mutual aspirations for our country,” Heitkamp said, adding that her top priority is her home state.

Heitkamp will be the second Democratic lawmaker to meet with Trump. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a prominent backer of Bernie Sanders’s Democratic presidential bid, spoke with Trump in New York earlier this month.

Miller did not say whether Heitkamp is being considered for a role in the administration, noting that some visitors are only meeting with the president-elect “to provide their insight and experience as to how to make the administration more effective for the American people.” 

“With regard to the senator, she comes very highly recommended, very highly qualified, is a proven leader and would be an asset in any role or capacity,” Miller said.

Heitkamp also said the meeting is an opportunity to talk about their “completely different life story” and find common ground on policy areas surrounding energy and agriculture.

“We think there’s certainly a common interest in doing things on energy, a common interest in doing things in agriculture,” she said.

“Rural American is a high priority, I would think, to the new administration so I’m anxious to talk about some ideas to revitalize and create economic opportunities in rural America.”

Heitkamp’s seat is considered one of the more difficult ones for Democrats to defend in 2018.

The party already faces a tough map in the upcoming cycle even if she seeks reelection. Republicans swept the top races in the state in November — Trump won by 36 points, Sen. John Hoeven won his reelection by 62 points and incoming Gov. Doug Burgum won by 58 points.

The Democratic senator has not yet announced whether she would seek reelection in 2018, a year when the Democrats have to defend 23 seats (plus two held by friendly independents) compared to the GOP’s eight seats up for reelection.

— Devin Henry contributed. This report was updated at 11:36 a.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Heidi Heitkamp John Hoeven Tulsi Gabbard
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