Report: GOP pressuring House rep to stay out of race against Heitkamp

Report: GOP pressuring House rep to stay out of race against Heitkamp
© Greg Nash

Top Republicans are pressuring Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) not to launch a 2018 Senate bid against Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE, according to a new report.

Senior Senate GOP officials are concerned about Cramer’s tendency towards controversial remarks that could sink their chances to win a much sought-after Senate seat, CNN reported Friday.

Momentum is building for Tom Campbell, a wealthy North Dakota state senator, to challenge Heitkamp next year.

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Campbell is reportedly putting together the resources for an organization that would help him run for statewide office in 2018, according to one of his political advisers.

Chip Englander told CNN that Campbell will “definitely” run for either Cramer’s House seat or Heitkamp’s Senate seat next year.

“He can even the score on Day 1,” he said, suggesting Campbell could immediately spend about $2 million and erase Heitkamp’s financial advantage.

CNN reported influential Republicans in Washington, D.C., worry Cramer may hinder their opportunity to unseat a Democratic senator in a reliably red state.

“On paper, it looks like he could win, but he also appears to have a few Akin-like tendencies that make a lot of people nervous,” said one senior GOP campaign veteran, referencing GOP candidate Todd Akin’s failed attempt at a Missouri Senate seat in 2012.

Cramer told CNN Friday that D.C. Republicans do not understand his state, noting he has conducted over 400 town hall meetings with constituents since 2013.

“This is what people in the swamp think: We can’t have this overexposed guy who has 100 percent name ID and says things that are on his mind,” he said.

“What they don’t calculate is how very much appreciated that is in places like North Dakota,” added Cramer, an early supporter of President Trump.

Cramer raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s widely criticized remarks about Adolf Hitler and Syrian President Bashar Assad are “not without some validity.”