North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's campaign is out with a new television spot questioning her opponent, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, and his commitment to protecting those with preexisting conditions.
The fight over health care, especially the popular protections for those with preexisting conditions, has become one of the central messages on the left as Democrats gear up for pivotal elections in November.
The new Heitkamp spot, shared first with NBC News, hits Cramer for past votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and for supporting an administration legal push that would decimate the Affordable Care Act and weaken protections for those with preexisting conditions.
Last week, Cramer told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead that he backs the lawsuit as an "incentive" for Democrats "to come to the table and try to fix" Obamacare.
In the Heitkamp ad, her campaign nods at Heitkamp's past history of breast cancer and focuses on a North Dakota woman with heart disease who admonishes Cramer for not standing up for those protections.
The ad will run on cable and digital channels with six figures of spending behind it. The state Democratic Party is also messaging on the same issue, launching Google search ads that would direct North Dakotans searching for information on Cramer or health care to the party's criticism of Cramer's position.
Heitkamp and the Democrats have sought to make health care a key issue in what is expected to be one of the closest Senate races in 2018. The most recent public poll, from Mason-Dixon Polling, showed Cramer ahead 4 points in a state President Trump won by almost 36 points in 2016.
Even as he supports the administration's position, Cramer told The Washington Times this month that "we need to guarantee that pre-existing conditions are covered." But he argued that he wants to give "more flexibility for states to work either independently or among themselves or collaboratively through risk pools and other means."