Democratic Senate candidate and former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp is making a serious play for the open seat in North Dakota this fall, even though Barack Obama is going to get walloped in the state. She's running sharp, personal ads that seem to be connecting with the public in spite of the state's partisan lean. Here's the latest, responding to Republican attacks on her support for the president's healthcare law by citing her own struggle with breast cancer:
She's not defending the healthcare law in its entirety, just the most popular provisions -- like ending the denial of coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, which even some Republican members of Congress have said they support.
Polls show Heitkamp is quite competitive, and this could be one of the surprise stories of 2012, assuming the candidate can stay strong through the summer and doesn't get drowned out by Super PAC cash.
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