Heidi Heitkamp

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Heidi Heitkamp
Heidi heitkamp.jpg
U.S. Senate, North Dakota
In office
January 3, 2013-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2019
Years in position 2
PredecessorKent Conrad (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 2018
Campaign $$5,638,438
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Attorney General of North Dakota
North Dakota Tax Commissioner
Bachelor'sUniversity of North Dakota (1977)
J.D.Lewis & Clark Law School (1980)
Date of birthOctober 30, 1955
Place of birthMantador, North Dakota
ProfessionAttorney, Consultant
Net worth$3,499,544
Office website
Campaign website
Heidi Heitkamp (b. October 30, 1955, in Mantador, North Dakota) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of North Dakota. She was first elected in 2012.[1] Heitkamp ran unopposed in the Democratic primary June 12 and narrowly defeated Republican Rick Berg in the general election on November 6, 2012.[2] She is the first woman elected to represent North Dakota in the U.S. Senate in the state's history.[3]

Heitkamp was sworn into the Senate on January 3, 2013, for a six year term expiring January 3, 2019. She will be eligible to run for re-election in 2018.

Prior to becoming a senator, Heitkamp was on the board of directors of Dakota Gasification, which operates a synthetic fuels plant in west-central North Dakota. Her experience as an elected official in the North Dakota state government includes having served two terms apiece in the roles of attorney general and state tax commissioner. She also made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2000, losing to current Senate colleague John Hoeven (R). Heitkamp began her public service career working as an attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the office of the state tax commissioner.[4]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Heitkamp is a more moderate left of center Democratic Party vote. As a result, she may break with the Democratic Party line more than her fellow members.


Heitkamp is a native of Mantador, North Dakota, born into a large family of seven children. One among her siblings, Joel Heitkamp, is a former Democratic member of the North Dakota State Senate.[4] Heitkamp graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota in 1977 and went on to earn her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1980.[5]

Heitkamp has worked as an attorney and consultant. She is a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attorney and director for a synfuels plant based in North Dakota.[6]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Heitkamp's academic, professional and political career:[5]

Committee Memberships

U.S. Senate


Heitkamp serves on the following Senate committees:[7]:


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[8] For more information pertaining to Heitkamp's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

National security

Iranian sanctions support

Voted "Yes" Heitkamp voted in support of S Res 65 - A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation. The resolution passed in the Senate by a vote of 99-0 on May 22, 2013.[10]

John Brennan CIA nomination
See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

Voted "Yes" Heitkamp voted in support of the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 63-34 on March 7, 2013. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[11]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013#Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act

“During the shutdown of the federal government, I will donate my salary to a charity in North Dakota," she said in a statement. "Right now, federal workers across North Dakota and the country who chose to work in public service have been forced to go without pay – including my Senate staff. It’s only fair that I not receive a salary during that time as well."[12]

Student loan interest rates

Voted "Yes" Heitkamp voted in support of HR 1911 - To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish interest rates for new loans made on or after July 1, 2013. The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 81-18 on July 24, 2013. The purpose of the bill was to set interest rates for student loans retroactively. Some Democrats split on the bill.[13]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Heitkamp voted in support of HR 325 - A bill to ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19, 2013, and for other purposes. The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 64-34 on January 31, 2013. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspended the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[14]


Completion of fence along Mexico border

Voted "No" Heitkamp voted in opposition of Thune Amdt. No. 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment failed in the Senate by a vote of 39-54 on June 18, 2013. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[15]


Defund Affordable Care Act

Voted "No" Heitkamp voted in opposition of Cruz Amdt. No. 30 - To prohibit the use of funds to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment failed in the Senate by a vote of 45-52 on March 13, 2013. The purpose of the amendment was to block funding for the healthcare program. Voting was split along party lines.[16]

Social issues

Expanded background checks on gun sales

Nay3.png On April 17, 2013, the U.S. Senate took a vote on and defeated a measure that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases.[17] The vote was 54-46, with supporters falling six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold.[18] Heitkamp was one of the 4 Democratic Senators who voted against the amendment.[19]

In defense of her vote she said, "I think I always had a reputation as somebody who will listen, somebody who is pretty independent-minded but also believes that at the end of the day, you got to listen to your constituents. In this office, the calls literally were before the last day at least 7 to 1 against that bill. This was after a series of very extensive ad campaigns done in my state saying call me and tell me to support it."[20]

As a result of the vote, Heitkamp was targeted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group is running ads in Alaska, Arkansas, and North Dakota, three of the states with Democratic senators who voted against the bill on expanded background checks for gun sales.[21]

Assault weapon ban

Voted "No" Heitkamp voted in opposition of Feinstein Amdt. No. 711 - To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes. The purpose of the bill was to ban the future sale, manufacturing and possession of assault weapons. The amendment failed in the Senate by a vote of 40-60 on April 17, 2013. One republican voted in support of the amendment while fifteen democrats voted in opposition.[22]

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Heitkamp voted in support of S 47 - A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 78-22 on February 12, 2013. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[23]

Political positions

American involvement in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Heitkamp stated she does not support President Barack Obama's plan of a 90-day, limited military involvement in Syria to halt their government's use of chemical weapons. Instead, she voiced support for a resolution presented by Sen. Joe Manchin which would allow Syria a 45 day period to halt the use of chemical weapons and surrender their supply. On September 9, 2013, she stated, "The current Senate resolution falls short because it calls for military action in Syria without carefully looking at diplomatic or alternative solutions. I strongly believe that we need the entire world, not just America, to prevent and deter the use of chemical weapons in Syria, or anywhere else on the globe."[24]

Gay marriage

Sen. Heitkamp has stated that she believes it should be an issue resolved by the states, and previously had not enunciated a position further than that.[25]

On April 5, 2013 Heitkamp emailed a statement to press outlets switching her position to one of endorsing same-sex marriage.[26] In the statement she said, “In speaking with North Dakotans from every corner of our great state, and much personal reflection, I have concluded the federal government should no longer discriminate against people who want to make lifelong, loving commitments to each other or interfere in personal, private, and intimate relationships. I view the ability of anyone to marry as a logical extension of this belief. The makeup of families is changing, but the importance of family is enduring.”[26]



See also: United States Senate elections in North Dakota, 2012

Heitkamp defeated Republican candidate Rick Berg in the general election.[27] Heitkamp ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing North Dakota. She ran unopposed in the Democratic primary June 12. The general election was November 6, 2012.[28]

U.S. Senate, North Dakota General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngHeidi Heitkamp 50.5% 161,337
     Republican Rick Berg 49.5% 158,401
Total Votes 319,738
Source: North Dakota Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


A Hero like Charlie Weichel

A Hero like Charlie Weichel'"[29]

Pee Wee

Pee Wee[30]

Twelve Years

Twelve Years"[31]

Gas Plant

Gas Plant"[32]



Heidi's North Dakota

Heidi's North Dakota"[34]


2012 Election

A DFM Research poll, conducted July 24-26, 2012, for the state's Democratic Party, showed Heitkamp leading GOP candidate Rick Berg by six points.[35] A Rasmussen poll, conducted July 10-11, 2012, showed Heitkamp trailing GOP candidate Rick Berg by nine points.[36]

North Dakota's Senate elections, 2012
Poll Rick Berg (R) Heidi Heitkamp (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size

(July 24-26, 2012)


(July 10-11, 2012)

AVERAGES 46.5% 45% 4% +/-4.95 400
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

US Senate in North Dakota, General election candidates
Poll Rick Berg Heidi HeitkampOtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Valley News Live/ Mason-Dixon Poll (October 3-5, 2012)
Forum Communications (October 12-15, 2012)
Rassmussen Reports (October 23, 2012)
Pharos Research Group
(October 26-28, 2012)
NBC North Dakota News/ Mason-Dixon
(October 26-28,2012)
AVERAGES 48.34% 45.38% 1% 3.68% +/-3.96 620.4
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Hietkamp is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Hietkamp raised a total of $5,638,438 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[37]

Heidi Heitkamp's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (North Dakota) Won $5,638,438
Grand Total Raised $5,638,438


Breakdown of the source of Heitkamp's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Heitkamp won election to the U.S. Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Heitkamp's campaign committee raised a total of $5,638,438 and spent $5,493,544.[38] This is less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[39]

Cost per vote

Heitkamp spent $34.05 per vote received in 2012.


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[40]

Heitkamp most often votes with:

Heitkamp least often votes with:

Lifetime missed votes

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Heitkamp missed 1 of 96 roll call votes from Jan 2013 to Apr 2013, which is 1.0% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[41]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Heitkamp's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $1,856,088 to $5,143,000. That averages to $3,499,544, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2011 of $20,795,450.[42]

Voting with Party


Heidi Heitkamp voted with the Democratic Party 86.2% of the time, which ranked 43rd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[43]


Heitkamp and her husband Darwin have two children.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Heidi + Heitkamp + North + Dakota + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, North Dakota"
  2. North Dakota Secretary of State, "2012 Primary Results"
  3. kfyrtv.com, "Election Night in North Dakota," November 7, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Wall Street Journal, "Heidi Heitkamp - Candidate 2012," accessed July 29, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 National Journal, "North Dakota, Senate, Heidi Heitkamp (D)," November 7, 2012
  6. Heidi For North Dakota, "For the Press - Heidi Heitkamp Biography," accessed July 29, 2013
  7. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 18, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  10. Washington Post, "S RES 65," May 22, 2013
  11. Washington Post, "Confirmation of John Owen Brennan," March 7, 2013
  12. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
  13. Washington Post, "HR 1911," July 24, 2013
  14. Washington Post "HR 325," January 31, 2013
  15. Washington Post, "S 744," June 18, 2013
  16. Washington Post, "HR 933," March 13, 2013
  17. NPR, "Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales," accessed April 19, 2013
  18. Fox News, "Background check plan defeated in Senate, Obama rips gun bill opponents," accessed April 19, 2013
  19. NPR, "Historically Speaking, No Surprise In Senate Gun Control Vote," accessed April 19, 2013
  20. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named gunvote
  21. Politico, " Gun control ads have Democrats worrying," May 7, 2013
  22. Washington Post, "S 649 Ban assault weapons," April 17, 2013
  23. Washington Post, "S 47," February 12, 2013
  24. Politico, "Heidi Heitkamp, Lamar Alexander won’t support Syria resolution," September 9, 2013
  25. Huffington Post, "Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No," March 26, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 Politico, "2 more Democratic senators endorse gay marriage," accessed April 9, 2013
  27. Politico "2012 Election Map, North Dakota"
  28. North Dakota Secretary of State, "2012 Primary Results"
  29. YouTube channel
  30. YouTube channel
  31. YouTube channel
  32. YouTube channel
  33. YouTube channel
  34. YouTube channel
  35. The Hill, "Dem poll: Heidi Heitkamp up by 6 in North Dakota," accessed August 7, 2012
  36. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2012: North Dakota Senate," accessed July 16, 2012
  37. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Heidi Heitkamp," accessed March 2013
  38. Open Secrets, "Heidi Heitkamp 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 4, 2013
  39. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," June 19, 2013
  40. OpenCongress, "Sen. Heidi Heitkamp," accessed August 22, 2013
  41. GovTrack, "Heidi Heitkamp," accessed April 2013
  42. OpenSecrets.org, "Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), 2011," accessed February 22, 2013
  43. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Kent Conrad (D)
U.S. Senate - North Dakota
Succeeded by
Preceded by
North Dakota Attorney General
Succeeded by