Heidi Heitkamp

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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(2012) $3,532,537
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. Her brother, 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 assignments

U.S. Senate


Heitkamp serves on the following committees:[7]


Heitkamp served on the following Senate committees:[8]:

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[9] For more information pertaining to Heitkamp's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[10]

National security

Iranian sanctions support

Yea3.png 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.[11]

John Brennan CIA nomination

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

Yea3.png 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.[12]

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."[13]


Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Heitkamp stated, “During the shutdown of the federal government, I will donate my salary to a charity in North Dakota." She added, "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."[14]

Yea3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[15] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Heitkamp voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[16]

Student loan interest rates

Yea3.png 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.[17]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Yea3.png 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 suspend 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.[18]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Mexico-U.S. border

Nay3.png 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.[19]


Defund Affordable Care Act

Nay3.png 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.[20]

Social issues

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.[21] The vote was 54-46, with supporters falling six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold.[22] Heitkamp was one of the 4 Democratic Senators who voted against the amendment.[23]

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."[24]

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.[25]

Assault weapon ban

Nay3.png 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.[26]

Violence Against Women (2013)

Yea3.png 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.[27]


On The Issues Vote Match

Heidi Heitkamp's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Heitkamp is a Moderate Liberal Populist. Heitkamp received a score of 55 percent on social issues and 36 percent on economic issues.[28]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[29]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Favors
Vouchers for school choice Favors Keep God in the public sphere Strongly Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Strongly Opposes Human needs over animal rights Favors
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Favors
Support & expand free trade Unknown Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Unknown
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Unknown Maintain US sovereignty from UN Unknown
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Neutral
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Opposes Stay out of Iran Favors
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Favors
Note: Information last updated: April 19, 2015.[28] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.

Political positions

Gay marriage

Sen. Heitkamp stated that she believed gay marriage should be an issue resolved by the states, and previously had not enunciated a position further than that.[30]

On April 5, 2013, Heitkamp emailed a statement to press outlets switching her position to one of endorsing same-sex marriage.[31] 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.”[31]



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

Heitkamp ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing North Dakota. She ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on June 12, 2012.[2] Heitkamp defeated Republican candidate Rick Berg in the general election on November 6, 2012.[32]

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

Pee Wee

Twelve Years

Gas Plant


Heidi's North Dakota


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.[33] A Rasmussen poll, conducted July 10-11, 2012, showed Heitkamp trailing GOP candidate Rick Berg by nine points.[34]

North Dakota's Senate elections, 2012
Poll Rick Berg (R) Heidi Heitkamp (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
(July 10-11, 2012)

DFM Research
(July 24-26, 2012)

AVERAGES 46.5% 45% 4% +/-4.95 400
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. 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
NBC North Dakota News/ Mason-Dixon
(October 26-28,2012)
Pharos Research Group
(October 26-28, 2012)
Rassmussen Reports (October 23, 2012)
Forum Communications (October 12-15, 2012)
Valley News Live/ Mason-Dixon Poll (October 3-5, 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. 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

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Heitkamp attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

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.[35]

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

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


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.[36] This is less than the average $10.2 million spent by Senate winners in 2012.[37]

Cost per vote

Heitkamp spent $34.05 per vote received in 2012.

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Heitkamp's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $1,971,074 to $5,094,000. That averages to $3,532,537, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic Senate members in 2012 of $13,566,333.90. Heitkamp ranked as the 39th most wealthy senator in 2012.[38] Between 2011 and 2012, Heitkamp's calculated net worth[39] decreased by an average of 6 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[40]

Heidi Heitkamp Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2011 to 2012:-6%
Average annual growth:-6%[41]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[42]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by OpenSecrets.org, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Heitkamp received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 2011-2014, 22.84 percent of Heitkamp's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[43]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Heidi Heitkamp Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $6,372,093
Total Spent $6,194,897
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$639,728
Leadership PACs$323,918
Women's Issues$174,494
Oil & Gas$160,300
% total in top industry10.04%
% total in top two industries15.12%
% total in top five industries22.84%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Heitkamp was a "centrist Democratic follower" as of July 2014.[44]

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.[45]

Heitkamp most often votes with:

Heitkamp least often votes with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime missed votes

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

According to the website GovTrack, Heitkamp missed 15 of 532 roll call votes from January 2013 to July 2014. This amounts to 2.8 percent, which is worse than the median of 2.0 percent among current senators as of July 2014.[44]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.


Heitkamp ranked 49th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[46]

Voting with Party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Heitkamp voted with the Democratic Party 87.5 percent of the time, which ranked 43rd among the 53 Senate Democratic members as of July 2014.[47]


Heitkamp voted with the Democratic Party 86.2 percent of the time, which ranked 43rd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[48]

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.

Heidi Heitkamp News Feed

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link
Political Tracker has an article on:
Heidi Heitkamp


  1. Politico, "2012 Election Map, North Dakota," accessed November 7, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 North Dakota Secretary of State, "2012 Primary Results," accessed June 12, 2012
  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. United States Senate, "Committee Assignments of the 114th Congress," accessed February 17, 2015
  8. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 18, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  10. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  11. Washington Post, "S RES 65," May 22, 2013
  12. Washington Post, "Confirmation of John Owen Brennan," March 7, 2013
  13. Politico, "Heidi Heitkamp, Lamar Alexander won’t support Syria resolution," September 9, 2013
  14. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 2, 2013
  15. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  16. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "HR 1911," July 24, 2013
  18. Washington Post, "HR 325," January 31, 2013
  19. Washington Post, "S 744," June 18, 2013
  20. Washington Post, "HR 933," March 13, 2013
  21. NPR, "Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales," accessed April 19, 2013
  22. Fox News, "Background check plan defeated in Senate, Obama rips gun bill opponents," accessed April 19, 2013
  23. NPR, "Historically Speaking, No Surprise In Senate Gun Control Vote," accessed April 19, 2013
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named gunvote
  25. Politico, " Gun control ads have Democrats worrying," May 7, 2013
  26. Washington Post, "S 649 Ban assault weapons," April 17, 2013
  27. Washington Post, "S 47," February 12, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 On The Issues, "Heidi Heitkamp Vote Match," accessed April 19, 2015
  29. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  30. Huffington Post, "Gay Marriage Rights: The 10 Democratic Senators Who Still Say No," March 26, 2013
  31. 31.0 31.1 Politico, "2 more Democratic senators endorse gay marriage," accessed April 9, 2013
  32. Politico, "2012 Election Map, North Dakota," accessed November 7, 2012
  33. The Hill, "Dem poll: Heidi Heitkamp up by 6 in North Dakota," accessed August 7, 2012
  34. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2012: North Dakota Senate," accessed July 16, 2012
  35. OpenSecrets, "Career Fundraising for Heidi Heitkamp," accessed July 13, 2014
  36. OpenSecrets, "Heidi Heitkamp 2012 Election Cycle," accessed March 4, 2013
  37. OpenSecrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  38. OpenSecrets, "Heitkamp, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  39. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  40. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  41. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  42. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  43. OpenSecrets.org, "Sen. Heidi Heitkamp," accessed September 18, 2014
  44. 44.0 44.1 GovTrack, "Heidi Heitkamp," accessed July 28, 2014
  45. OpenCongress, "Sen. Heidi Heitkamp," accessed July 28, 2014
  46. National Journal, "2013 Congressional Vote Ratings," accessed July 28, 2014
  47. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  48. 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