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Commentary: Heitkamp’s defense of her attack on Cramer’s salary was so dumb it was kind of funny

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp makes a point in the U.S. Senate Candidate Debate with Rep. Kevin Cramer on Thursday night in Bismarck. The debate was sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

If you missed last night’s debate between North Dakota Senate candidates Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer you can watch the whole thing below.

I’m not sure anything happened last night to change the trajectory of this race. Both candidates hit their talking points, but there weren’t really any resonant moments likely to move a lot of voters. I thought Heitkamp was a little shaky. She’s normally good at this stuff, but she was a little off her game last night, which probably isn’t surprising given the brutal news cycle she’s been through what with the whole outing and re-victimizing sexual assault survivors thing.

That said, there was an exchange between the candidates about an ad Heitkamp has been runningaccusing Cramer of raising his own salary while he was a member of the Public Service Commission.

“I still want to get to what you were thinking Sen. Heitkamp when you authorized the ad saying that I voted a 23,000 raise for myself – that I gave myself a raise,” Cramer told Heitkamp at one point in the debate. “You know that’s not true.”

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