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Heitkamp campaign identifies sexual-assault victims in ad without permission

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign is receiving pushback from women who say she used their names in an ad against her competitor, identifying them as victims of sexual assault without their permission.

The ad, which was in the form of an open letter, listed women who were victims of sexual assault or domestic violence, saying they were standing up to Rep. Kevin Cramer who downplayed accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, saying he forced himself on her more than three decades ago.

Mr. Cramer supported the president’s pick for the high court, while Ms. Heitkamp did not.

“We are here to let you know that we have all suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape — and that yes, we expect somebody to believe us when we say it. Because it happened,” the open letter to Mr. Cramer reads.

But Eve Lancaster, one of the 127 women listed on the bottom of the letter, took to Facebook to cry foul.

“To whom ever decided it was ok to put my name in this ‘open letter’ for the Bismarck Tribune and possibly other newspapers for this Heitkamp campaign for sexual harrassment, I am DISGUSTED. I did not give any sort of permission for you to put my name in this. I’m FURIOUS,” she posted on Monday evening.

Kady Miller, who is also listed on the letter, commented on Ms. Lancaster’s post saying she didn’t know how her name was on there either.

“I never commented about anything to do with domestic violence and I don’t even support Heidi Heitkamp!!” she posted.

According to the North Dakota GOP, at least four women have come forward complaining about their names being listed.

Ms. Heitkamp, who is down roughly eight points in the polls, voted with her Democratic colleagues against Judge Kavanaugh.

In a press release Tuesday, Ms. Heitkamp admitted to the mistake, saying she worked with victim advocates to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault.

“We recently discovered that several of the women’s names who were provided to us did not authorize their names to be shared or were not survivors of abuse. I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again,” Ms. Heitkamp said.

The red-state Democrat is trying to hold her Senate seat against Mr. Cramer, who is backed by Mr. Trump.

The president won North Dakota in 2016 by 36 points.

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