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Trump rallies for GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer in North Dakota

30 June 2018

He noted that Heitkamp voted against repealing President Barack Obama's health care law and the Republican tax plan and claims she'll also oppose his Supreme Court Justice pick.

"He felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy, that's why he did it", Trump said at a campaign rally in Fargo.

Kennedy's retirement, Mr. Trump said, is the reason why the Senate needs more Republicans, not Democrats like Heitkamp.

Put more succinctly to CNN's Jeff Zeleny earlier this week, Heitkamp said, "He's going to say some mean things about me".

Trump was directly involved in recruiting a reticent Cramer into what Republicans see as one of their best opportunities to pick off a Democratic-held Senate seat. "Heidi Heitkamp will be a 'vote no" for whoever he nominates to replace Kennedy because 'she will be told to do so.' He told the crowd that a vote for Heitkamp or any other Democrat in the state is essentially a vote for impeachment-pushing Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

Manchin, Donnelly and Heitkamp are Democrats from states Trump won in 2016 that he's targeted them for defeat in November's midterm elections.

In a later statement, Democratic-NPL Party faulted Cramer for the trade war and its impact on North Dakota agriculture, saying his actions "threaten the livelihood of North Dakota's farmers and ranchers".

Heitkamp's campaign confirmed to ABC News that the senator will not be in the state during President Trump's rally because the U.S. Senate is now in session. "Please keep Maxine Waters on the air as your face and your mouthpiece for the Democrats".

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He accused Heitkamp of working hand-in-hand with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Pelosi.

"You need a senator who doesn't just talk like they're from North Dakota, but votes like they're from North Dakota", Trump told the audience.

The political realities of the state are not lost on Heitkamp, who relies on her bipartisan credentials and personal appeal in the state, and has not been afraid to tout her working relationship with President Trump and maintain a measured distance between herself and the brand of the national Democratic Party.

It took a while, but the White House has finally focused on a winnable Senate election in North Dakota.

"We must elect more Republicans", Trump said later.

Trump is scheduled to appear at a rally Wednesday evening in a 6,000-seat Fargo hockey arena in a burst of campaign appearances that has included Nevada, Minnesota and SC.

"One of my biggest critics, a slovenly man named Joe Crowley got his ass kicked by a young woman who had a lot of energy", Trump, who was raised in Jamaica, Queens, said.

Trump rallies for GOP Senate candidate Kevin Cramer in North Dakota