John McCain’s death sparked responses from senators in all 50 states, including his home state of Arizona. North Dakota is no different, with politicians both local and national paying respect to the senator. Gov. Doug Burgum, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Sen. John Hoeven and Senatorial candidate and current U.S. House Rep. Kevin Cramer all paid their respects.
In a written statement, Gov. Burgum said he was “deeply saddened to learn” of the senator’s passing. The governor called McCain a “true American Hero” and said he was the “embodiment of courage honor and service.” Burgum ended his statement by offering his thoughts and prayers to McCain’s family.
Sen. Heitkamp wrote about how close she was to McCain’s family. Heitkamp described being friends with Cindy McCain, McCain’s wife, and getting to know McCain himself when they worked together to “stand up for Indian Country” on the Senate floor. The senator said she grew to see him as a man who prioritized family and provide “them with an uncompromising love, and he instilled in them a wisdom borrowed from his own life of hard-fought battles, triumphs and innumerable lives touched.”
Heitkamp said she “valued each moment spent in the company of John and Cindy.” Heitkamp ended her statement by offering her thoughts to the family and said her thoughts are with them as “we remember the gift of his remarkable life and his commitment to the idea that strong character, when used to serve others, is the highest human pursuit.”
Rep. Cramer’s statement was short, with the Representative from North Dakota writing: “Kris (Cramer’s wife) and I are keeping Cindy and the entire McCain family in our prayers during this difficult time. Sen. McCain was a true American hero, and I join many in remembering his selfless service to our country.” Cramer is running against Heitkamp for Senate in the coming November midterm election.
In a statement, Sen. Hoeven expressed his “Heart felt condolences” to the senator’s family. The senator said McCain was not just a colleague but also a friend. Of McCain’s legacy, Hoeven said, “Few have demonstrated his level of commitment to this country, through his bravery in the armed forces and his long tenure in Congress.” Hoeven ended the statement by saying he joins McCain’s family and the nation in mourning his death.
On Fox Business, Hoeven said McCain “was obviously not only known across America, but really around the world as someone who believed in American exceptionalism, someone who served, somebody who was a prisoner of war and somebody who for his entire life advocated for men and woman in uniform.” Hoeven also expressed in the interview just how brave and courageous it was for McCain to endure capture at the hands of the North Vietnamese.
On campus, Cale Dunwoody, the president of NDSU College Republicans, said it is always sad to lose someone, and that losing a senator leaves uncertainty in the party and the Senate. “Losing another seat in the Senate is never good, especially by a death; that’s terrible.” According to Dunwoody, the Republicans are already at risk of losing the House majority. McCain was someone who could see both sides and play “devil’s advocate sometimes,” but McCain was a “vary strong voice that the Republican Party is going to miss,” Dunwoody said.
According to Dunwoody, McCain was “one of the few statesmen left” and that it’s “sad” to see him leave.
From a very early age, Dunwoody said he “remembers hoping John McCain would be our next president.” He admired McCain’s service and said it “took a lot of guts and courage to be able to fight through something like that,” referring to McCain’s service as a prisoner of war.
McCain left a legacy with his military service and also by representing the “folks” of Arizona, Dunwoody said.