Heitkamp's past support for Obama has already been used against her in the race by outside spending groups. The conservative-aligned group Crossroads GPS ran an ad against Heitkamp highlighting a comment she made in 2008, where she said she thought Barack Obama was going to be "amazing."
MONTANA Democratic senator Jon Tester faces his first re-election campaign this year in a solidly red state. Tester narrowly defeated then incumbent senator Conrad Burns in 2006, and he'll face a tight re-election this year, with polls showing him in a close race with likely Republican candidate Denny Rehberg. Tester will need to court Romney voters in order to carry the race.
HAWAII It's likely that no one understands this challenge of distancing oneself from their party's presidential nominee better than likely Republican senate candidate Linda Lingle in Hawaii. The two-term governor is running in a traditional blue state, in a presidential election, where the Democratic nominee is from the state. For Lingle to have a chance of winning the open senate race, she needs Obama/Lingle voters to turn out in good numbers.
Lingle has already begun to draw distinctions between herself and other members of "her own party," penning an article earlier this year about her support for abortion rights.
"It pains me deeply to see members of my own party attempting to legislate women's health and contraception choices," Lingle wrote in the Hawaii Reporter. "Throughout my years of public service, I have listened with great interest to both sides of these often controversial issues. The positions taken were argued with equivalent passion and effectiveness. But I have always been an ardent supporter of women's rights, including a woman's right to choose."