In North Dakota, President Trump misleads over Heidi Heitkamp's voting record

A week after visiting Duluth, the president held a rally in Fargo.
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President Donald Trump attempted to present North Dakota's Sen. Heidi Heitkamp as "a liberal Democrat" in Fargo on Wednesday, despite a voting record that suggests anything but.

The president told a crowd of 6,000 inside Scheels Arena that the state's Democratic senator "promised to be an independent vote for the people of North Dakota."

"Instead, she went to Washington and immediately joined Chuck ... and Nancy," he added, referring to Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Heitkamp is seen by Republicans as potentially vulnerable in November's Senate elections in what is predominantly a red state, with Trump throwing his weight behind GOP opponent Kevin Cramer.

But Trump's comments at the Wednesday rally paint a misleading picture of Heitkamp's voting record during his presidential tenure.

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Since he took office, FiveThirtyEight has examined each Congress member's voting record and how it aligns with Trump's position, something it calls the "Trump score."

Heitkamp? The second highest Democrat on the list.

She has voted in favor of Trump positions on 55.4 percent of votes since he took office in January 2017, behind only Joe Manchin III in West Virginia with 60.8 percent.

In fact, Trump praised her as a "good woman" during a visit to North Dakota just last year, as The Washington Post reports.

Heitkamp is one of only 4 Democratic senators to vote for Trump's position more often than not, which is particularly significant considering the GOP only has a 51-49 majority.

Heitkamp has shown herself more than willing to defy Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (who votes 24.3 percent with Trump's position), but that said, her voting record doesn't necessarily reflect the wider interests of North Dakotans.

Trump got a 35.7 percent higher share of the vote than Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and FiveThirtyEight says that based on this number, the state's U.S. senators should be expected to vote with Trump 92.7 percent of the time.

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Her fellow North Dakotan U.S. senator, Republican John Hoeven, has voted with the president 97.3 percent of the time.

The Associated Press notes that Heitkamp has largely backed Republican and corporate interests on energy in oil-rich North Dakota, as well as opposing some restrictions on guns and confirming most of Trump's Cabinet nominations.

Trump however called her out for voting against his tax bill and efforts to un-do Obamacare.

Out of interest, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar voted with Trump's position 29.7 percent of the time, while Sen. Tina Smith did so 23.5 percent of the time (0.1 percent less than Al Franken).

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