Pipeline protest violence is the subject of a new North Dakota Republican Party ad hitting Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for not intervening to stop it.
The ad opens with dark images of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests as a narrator says, “Violent radicals terrorized our state during the DAPL protests, setting fires, hurling dangerous explosives. And Heidi Heitkamp? Did nothing.” The words “Heidi Heitkamp: Did Nothing” flash across the screen.
A voice recording identified by the state party as Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says, “They are trespassing on private properties, they’re burning cars, they’re throwing rocks and bottles at law enforcement officers.”
The ad criticizes Heitkamp for failing to condemn the violence, protect property rights, or defend law enforcement.
“Heidi Heitkamp sat on the sidelines as violence escalated, property was destroyed, and the lives of North Dakota law enforcement officers were put in harm’s way,” said North Dakota Republican Party Communications Director Jake Wilkins. “Heitkamp claims she fights for her state, but when North Dakota needed her most, she was nowhere to be found.”
The state party pointed to a congressional race fundraiser Heitkamp once held for pipeline protest leader Chase Iron Eyes at her D.C. home.
Heitkamp is facing a tough challenge from Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer. The North Dakota Republican Party pointed to Cramer’s support for the pipeline and law enforcement.
The Huffington Post reported in early 2017 that Cramer signed on to a November 2016 letter with Sen. John Hoeven and the governor that called on then-President Barack Obama to “provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing ― and oftentimes violent ― protest activity.”
The ad closes with the narrated words: “When we needed her most, Heidi Heitkamp did nothing.”