Whither the ballot?

by Street Sweeper on September 16, 2014

Seal_of_Nebraska.svgThe LJS today features a personal letter written by Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers to Secretary of State John Gale concerning Gale’s decision to put Mike’ Foley’s name on the ballot as the Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate.

Chambers spent 13 pages on his IBM Selectric (we are assuming he has an electric typewriter) quoting humor writers, state statute, Lewis Carroll, the Bible and the state Constitutution among others to convince Gale to change his decision.

(You can read his whole letter, linked by the LJS, here.)

He even notes that “time is of the essence” in his letter.

And that, Ernie (assuming someone will tell him about the internet) was for what?

Gale has made his decision.
This isn’t a court brief.
And there are basically two issues: does Gale follow the state constitution — and have leeway in that — or does he strictly follow state statute?

We were interested in the competing views of Creighton and University of Nebraska law professors on the topic.

Creighton’s Mike Fenner (also President of the state Bar Association) says:

…the Nebraska Constitution does give Ricketts the right to name his running mate, but he also said the Legislature clearly has the authority to set election deadlines.

But UNL law professor Anthony Schutz says:

...Gale has the authority to consider all the factors in this case, including state law and the unusual circumstances surrounding Heidemann’s sudden request to have his name removed from the ballot.

In any case, this could all be relevant, since while Democrat candidate Chuck Hassebrook has decided not to challenge the decision, Libertarian candidate for governor, Mark Elworth Jr., has taken the issue to Lancaster County District Court.

How quickly this could get booted up to the Nebraska Supreme Court is unknown, but ballots are supposed to go out to the military by this Friday.

We do not know the odds of this getting flipped, but it may just keeps things bubbling for another week or so.

Even if Ernie’s letter was a waste of his and our time.


Oh, and that poll by the New York Times and CBS from last week that showed Pete Ricketts slamming Hassebrook?

Yeah, the local Democrats have decided that now they’re not so into the New York Times and anything other than calling people on landlines.

So for now on, we will ONLY consider polls taken at the State Fair, next to the Pork Palace, using the traditional drop-your-poker-chip-in-the-pickle-barrel method.

It’s just good science.


Democrat State Senator Jeremy Nordquist wants Congressman Lee Terry to support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. But he also wants Terry to support raising the Nebraska minimum wage to $8 an hour.

Why Nordquist has decided to be so chintzy to Nebraskans is unclear.

But Nordquist believes that minimum wage workers in Beemer, Nebraska and Old Market, Nebraska and Hollywood, California and Manhattan, New York should all get the same wage.

And that employers won’t be affected, in who they hire or fire or the number of hours they give employees, by doing this.

Except that most employers — the ones who create jobs — disagree.


Another awesome Nebraska Senate debate that no one watched.

And Jim Jenkins — who INSISTS that he is a millionaire! — wants to have some MORE debates.

Look Jim, we understand your desperation, but one can only be scowled at by Dave Domina for so long.
We are sure you understand.


As we tweeted, you can read a glowing story about the Ben Sasse campaign in the Weekly Standard.

Though there it was, the cartoon image of Ben Sasse talking to a pig.
Because, you know, Nebraska.


Yeah, we get it: Sasse is willing to talk to ANYONE, including a pig on a farm.
Just makes us cringe a little.


Polls: Sasse and Ricketts with solid leads

by Street Sweeper on September 11, 2014

New polls commissioned by the New York Times / CBS News / YouGov Battleground Tracker for the 2014 Nebraska Senate and Governor’s races show Republicans Ben Sasse and Pete Ricketts with solid leads.

Here are the topline results:



More to come…


Our takeaways:

Ricketts and Sasse both lead in every age group and in the two genders that are identified.

Also, both lead among “Independents”.
But both are behind among “Moderates”.

Which leaves us to believe that most who register as “Independents” are actually conservatives.
And most self-ID’d “Moderates” are actually Democrats.

Which sounds about right.


New TV, radio and Lieutenant Governor

by Street Sweeper on September 11, 2014

Lee Terry and Brad Ashford each have new TV spots out — Ashford his recent negative spot, and Terry TWO TV ads.
We are going to intersperse them through this post, lest they get too cumbersome for you to handle in a bunch (sort of like going back and forth to bring the groceries in).

First the new Terry TV spot, here:

This is the second spot in a row featuring a testimonial from a constituent. This one, talking about how Terry has helped to create the local radio act (the last being the Veterans ad).

While this one isn’t quite as powerful as the last one (helping “everything” might be just a little bit of hyperbole), it is still a very good spot on the positives Terry has done in Congress.

It is always better to have someone else sell you.

We are now looking forward to Terry’s negative ads on Ashford!

(Terry also has a radio spot up based on this ad. You can hear it here.)


People don’t vote for Lieutenant Governor any more than they vote for Vice President – — and frankly much less. And realistically very very few people even KNOW who the Lieutenant is, let alone think about them when they vote.

That being said, there was certainly potential for this one to be screwed up.

Had Lavon Heideman’s name been left on the ballot as Pete Rickett’s choice for Lieutenant Gov, Ricketts would have needed to constantly say, “No! No! It’s really Mike Foley! And you KNOW Mike Foley!”

With Secretary of State Gale’s decision to put Foley’s name on the ballot, Foley will go back to being that one guy who did a lot of press conferences. And then there is that other guy running for Governor who probably has a Lieutenant Governor candidate as well, but damned if I know his name.

(It’s a her? Huh. How about that. Well there ya go.)

Frankly right now, we would be curious to know Chuck Hassebrook’s name ID. In this Governor’s race, people are voting For or Against Pete. The concept of Chuck Hassebrook is sort of just floating out there.

That being said, if Heideman’s name was still on the ballot, that would have created a bit of a screwy issue people would talk about. The Foley pick was a good move to head that off. Now it is not an issue.

And we know people want to talk about what a great or horrible guy Foley is or was or will be, etc. etc. Knock yourselves out. But just know that voters will be choosing the top of the line. Any help or hurt Foley would provide will likely be a wash.


Hey Brad Ashford went negative right away in his race to represent the 2nd District in Congress.
See it here:

Oh look, he went after the government shutdown thing! WHO could have seen THAT coming???
It is already a tired repeat.

The other stuff? Meh.
Does ANYONE think Terry is out there actively fighting against Veterans?

Ashford is out there cherry-picking some vote where Terry wanted a different version of a bill, so voted against this one. The idea that he voted to “cut veterans care” is high school student council race stuff.

Of course the best thing about this ad is that we don’t have to get the POV of jogging behind Brad.
And for that, we say, Thank You State Senator Ashford.


Terry also has ANOTHER new TV ad up.
See it here:

Nice summary of stuff Lee has done. Voters like to tick off reasons in their head to vote for someone.

This ad putts a bullet point list in their brains that they will go through when their standing in the booth with a Number 2 pencil in their hand. This is good stuff with more to come.


And we see that former Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle endorsed Brad Ashford.


But this line from the OWH story is the one that cracks us up:

Ashford, who has changed parties several times in his three-decade political career, subsequently became a Democrat and is now challenging Republican Rep. Lee Terry.

Several times.




Lt Gov

by Street Sweeper on September 9, 2014

Foley  - semiformal 02FWIW, we are hearing Mike Foley for the new Ricketts pick.

Could be off, we’ll know in a half hour (1:30pm CST).

Stay tuned.

**UPDATE at 1:30**

And Pete confirms it.

Oh, and our suggestion is now let Foley and his brood live in the McMansion in Lincoln…


Running behind

by Street Sweeper on September 8, 2014

As we noted on our Twitter feed on Friday (which we know you follow, right?) the Republican Governors Association has a new ad up knocking Democrat Nebraska Governor candidate Chuck Hassebrook.
See it here:

Here’s the thing: We expect to hear Hassebrook complaining about this ad and Who paid for it? and, oh they are just being negative, and yadda, yadda, yadda.

But really, isn’t this a positive ad for Hassebrook?
Aren’t these all the things that he is pumping himself to show what a caring soul he is?
They are all his positions. These are things he wants to do as Governor.

And in a somewhat bizarro, but still believable, world doesn’t Hassebrook make the exact same ad, but say that Pete Ricketts is against all of these issues on immigration?

And then he can add the tag line that “Pete Ricketts is too conservative for Nebraska!

This is one of those stark lines that voters can view. Hassebrook (and the President) support all of those items.
Are you for or against?
Take your pick.


And oh lordy, Brad Ashford put our his first real positive ad.
If you haven’t see it, be prepared. Here it is:

Apparently Ashford is/was a runner. Well, jogger.
And that’s great. Hurrah for him.

But we have a little news for Brad.
Joggers aren’t…elegant.

They’re horky-dorky looking (Yes that’s an adjective. Look it up.)
Don’t believe us? Take a look here:

Ashford dance on Make A Gif

This isn’t Usain Bolt sprinting like a gazelle across the Old Market.
This isn’t Forrest Gump trotting by the mountain lake.
This isn’t even guy who is trying to make his plane across the airline terminal.

This is funky old dude, wearing short-shorts, doing that heel-to-toe jog that may be correct form for a distance runner, but just does not look graceful.

And then who thought THIS would be a nice image for the voters?

What sort of trouble did you have to get into to get THAT position as a staffer?
OK, who wants ass duty? It’s gonna be flappy and unpleasant, but SOMEONE has to do it! Now step up!

This is one of those ads where the visuals overtake any message they hope to convey. All the viewer is left with is “old guy running” (and we don’t mean to be pejorative about Brad’s age, but he is the one making us look at this). Yeah, yeah, we get the “running across Omaha” and the “running for office” metaphor. Very enlightening.

But the fact that Ashford is a runner does nothing for us as far as his message or positions or anything else.
It’s just, “Dude who may be healthy, but looks really uncomfortable.

And now you’ll NEVER be able to get those images above out of your head…


At the conclusion of oral arguments for the Keystone XL Pipeline, we were surprised by one line from Deputy Attorney General Katherine Spohn at the concluding press scrum:

“Let’s be honest, nobody wants a pipeline to go through their land.”

First off, Nice job Katie. So are you trying to show how balanced you are, or are you gunning for a gig in Domina’s office after he loses the Senate race?

But beyond what a goofy PR move, how about the crux of the statement?

Nobody wants the pipeline through their land?

How about the vast majority who realize that the pipe is safe and worthwhile for Nebraskans and the United States?
How about those who follow what University of Nebraska hydrologist Jim Goeke said, and know that the Ogallala aquifer will be safe?

How about the over 90% of landowners who HAVE ALREADY SIGNED ON to having the pipe go through their land???!

Oh. so there is SOMEBODY who wants a safe pipeline to go through their land.
90% of those somebodies.

So let us please stop bending over backwards to appease the lefties out there who have the time to show up at a judicial hearing (where their bumper sticker advocacy makes nary a difference) in their brand new printed “Big Oil Big Sucks” t-shirts.

We all know this isn’t about “landowners’ rights”.
It is about a far far left wing agenda to move people to an agrarian society where people ride windmills to work and have “cars” made out of renewable bark.

Oh, and by the way, these are the same people who think it’s horrible for a company from the North to ask permission to come into the U.S. and Nebraska, but it’s really cool to leave the gate wide open for anyone to walk into the U.S. from the South.

Interesting, that.


Hassebrook goes negative

September 4, 2014

Democrat Nebraska Governor candidate Chuck Hassebrook wasted no time going negative against Pete Ricketts. See his recent ad here: Hassebrook rolls out a bunch of talking points that Ricketts knocked down, one by one, in the debate that no one watched. So we will let the Ricketts camp plow through those again below. But let [...]

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Debates are the best!

September 3, 2014

**UPDATE at 3:50pm** Politico reports that a Republican pollster has told them that Lee Terry and Brad Ashford are currently tied at 41%. No info on when the poll was taken, the sample, or anything else. But it does confirm what we’ve said about it being very close. (We still think Terry will begin to [...]

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Dirty Half-Dozen

August 28, 2014

So we fired up the Leavenworth St. RV and headed out to the State Fair on Monday afternoon. We were in the back, throwing back Jolt Colas, and singing the song, “Are ya lookin’ for fun? A fun affair! Come on down and join in the fun! The Nebraska State Fairrrrr!” So we roll into [...]

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Ricketts on the air

August 18, 2014

Pete Ricketts is on the air with his first new ad for the general election for Governor. See it here: Rapid fire messages here, likely hitting all of your subliminal receptors. That final line cracks us up a bit: “If it works in the REAL WORLD, it’ll work in Lincoln.” We always DID feel a [...]

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Terry on TV

August 13, 2014

Congressman Lee Terry is up on TV in his race against Brad Ashford. See it here: This is a nice piece by Terry, touting his work for veterans. *** This follows up on Ashford’s contention that Reps should spend more time in Washington. Yes, MORE time. On the face of it, you’d think, “Yeah, they [...]

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Is Lee Terry still in trouble?

August 1, 2014

With the exit of Chip Maxwell from the Nebraska 2nd District Congressional race, many supporters of Congressman Lee Terry got a B-12 shot of enthusiasm that Terry’s campaign was not doomed by the split of Republican votes. However, the question now goes from “Can Terry win?” to “WILL Terry win?” That…not so clear. We have [...]

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