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Heitkamp highlights anti-human trafficking bill in new ad

Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Grassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary 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 TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech 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 CramerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine Republican frustration builds over Cabinet picks Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden 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."