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Cramer’s Kavanaugh Comments Could Cost Senate Control

Last updated on October 13th, 2018 at 04:28 am

Democrats seeking control of the U.S. Senate after the 2018 midterm elections were happy to hear that the Republican senate candidate in North Dakota has been saying dumb things about Brett Kavanaugh.

North Dakota’s GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Senator Heidi Heitcamp in a very close race that could decide which party controls the upper chamber starting in January. Last week he called the allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “even more absurd” than the ones Anita Hill made a generation ago against Clarence Thomas.

Cramer said that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh were absurd because they were merely drunken teenagers at the time. And then Cramer added that no harm was done since it was “supposedly an attempt that never went anywhere.”

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Cramer’s remarks immediately drew fire from women who are tired of their sexual assault claims being ignored. They were seen as possibly helping Heitcamp with just a few weeks before the November 6th election.

And now Cramer is trying to double-talk his way out of trouble and clean up his remarks without retracting his original statement that Dr. Ford’s allegations are “absurd.”

In a statement yesterday Cramer said:

“The question I was answering was how the current accusation against Brett Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford compared to the Anita Hill accusation against Clarence Thomas.”

“The point of my answer was that the current allegations were even more absurd. At the time, there was a sense of legitimacy to what Anita Hill was saying, but it is hard not to be skeptical considering the timing and history of the allegation Brett Kavanaugh is facing. Of course, any allegation of this nature should be taken seriously, but absent significant evidence being brought forth immediately, I feel Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process should proceed.”

Cramer’s original comments had drawn a sharp rebuke from Heitkamp’s campaign. Heitkamp campaign manager Libby Schneider said in a Saturday statement:

“His comments were disturbing and representative of a bigger issue Congressman Cramer has with respecting women and victims of assault or abuse. As a public official elected by the people of our state, he owes North Dakotans answers on his deeply troubling views regarding sexual assault.”

“Regardless of one’s opinion on the Supreme Court nominee, allegations of sexual assault should never be trivialized or diminished – as Congressman Cramer did yesterday. To insinuate that an assault shouldn’t be taken seriously because it ‘never really went anywhere’ is as dangerous as it is offensive. It’s unfortunate that this even needs to be said, but clearly it does – sexual assault is never OK.”

Cramer has led Heitkamp in most recent opinion polls, but his leads have been within the margin of error. In a close race like this Democrats hope Cramer’s gaffes will give her a chance to retake the lead.

Kavanaugh and Ford have tentatively agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Last week President Donald Trump attacked Dr. Ford’s credibility in a move seen as hurting GOP candidates, including Cramer.

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