Heitkamp highlights anti-human trafficking bill in new ad

Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D) is launching a new TV commercial touting an anti-human trafficking measure as the ad war in North Dakota's Senate race heats up.

The 30-second spot features a testimony from Brandi Jude, a Bismarck-based advocate for victims of human trafficking, in which she praises the senator's work on legislation cracking down on websites that facilitate trafficking.

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"My life's calling is to help end human trafficking, and I'm so proud that it was Heidi Heitkamp's law that shut down the trafficking websites," Jude says in the ad. "She's a national leader on human trafficking. For me, she's an inspiration we can't afford to lose."

The ad is part of a six-figure TV and digital ad campaign expected to run across North Dakota in the coming weeks.

The spot touts her work on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which does away with federal liability protections for websites deemed to facilitate sex trafficking, like classified advertising website Backpage.com.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE signed that measure into law in April, days after federal authorities seized Backpage.com. 

Heitkamp is facing a tough reelection campaign against North Dakota Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenators highlight threat from invasive species Overnight Defense: Top general wasn't consulted on Syria withdrawal | Senate passes bill breaking with Trump on Syria | What to watch for in State of the Union | US, South Korea reach deal on troop costs GOP senators think Trump would win vote on emergency declaration MORE (R), who has sought to cast the first-term Democrat as out of touch with her home state and eager to obstruct Trump's agenda in Washington.

She's considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats seeking reelection in 2018, among 10 in states won by Trump in 2016. The Cook Political Report currently rates the race as a toss-up.

Heitkamp's latest ad comes as Cramer faces backlash over his recent comments about a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh stemming from a high school party in the 1980s.

In a radio interview, Cramer dismissed the accuser's allegations as "absurd."

“These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement," he said. "Nothing evidently happened in it all, even by her own accusation. Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere."