However, as time has gone on, Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is essentially between rigor and mortis given Election Day is less than a week away. And with the GOP in a decent position to flip Dem held seats in Missouri, Indiana, Florida and Montana, it's all over but the crying in the Democrats' attempt to regain the Senate.
As such, the news out of what is typically a Democrat stronghold couldn't have come at a worse time for them.
How much does it cost for a senator to skip a debate? Around $1.1 million, apparently.
Tina Smith, the former Planned Parenthood lobbyist appointed to replace disgraced Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., didn’t show up for a televised debate with her Republican challenger, state Sen. Karin Housley. Now, the DSCC is apparently dropping a bucket of money in Minnesota to make up for the omission and make sure this doesn't become another Republican pickup opportunity.
The Democratic group Senate Majority PAC spent $400,000 on digital ads earlier this week, and now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is opening up an insurance policy. According to a Minnesota media consultant, the DSCC is expected to spend $700,000 on local ads that will run from Nov. 1 until Election Day. All of this has Republicans giddy.
After debating an empty lectern on live television, Housley has reason to be optimistic. The outside money signals real fears that maybe a former Planned Parenthood lobbyist can’t get re-elected by blowing off constituents. New and old polling certainly confirms that the race is tightening.
Suppose the only GOP flip occurs in North Dakota. That means Dems would have to seize three GOP seats just to gain a slim majority. And there was a small window of opportunity given GOP incumbents were not seeking reelection in Arizona and Tennessee as well as Dean Heller (R-NV) being vulnerable. But with this news out of Minnesota, that's less resources which leftist I.E.s can spread to the three GOP toss up seats as well as the four Dem occupied seats (MO, IN, FL & MT) which are in real jeopardy of slipping away.
When Housley first entered the race, many felt the best case scenario would be for her to make the race against Smith competitive enough to divert attention and resources away from seats Dems needed to flip or hold. This news means those expectations, at minimum, have been met.