Questioning Sasse

ObamaCareNemesisIf your position is #NeverTrump, please be aware of the consequences:

President Hillary Clinton.

Anyone telling you that they are both #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary, and furthermore that a 3rd Party option could beat them both, is lying to you.

Which brings us to Nebraska’s Junior U.S. Senator, Ben Sasse, and his 11 PM diatribe last night on the Twitter, later posted on The Facebook.

Last night, Sasse restated his position of #NeverTrump, but took it a step further. Not only will he fold his arms when it comes to voting for the nominee of the party of which he is a member, but he proposes a Third Party candidate to take on Donald and Hillary.

Not him of course! But someone like…Tom Coburn.


It is not clear how much of this by Sasse is bluster — maybe to somehow change things at the convention in Cleveland — and how much is to simply further his name as the conservative standard bearer in the Senate. He already has the Washington, D.C. literati of George Will and the National Review boys at his side. His plan seems to be to act as Captain America of that Op-Ed team of Avengers, all the way to the White House.

And I personally LIKE the National Review writers. For instance, David French recently belted out a column stating that he hates both Hillary and Trump. But he believes Hillary would be less-worse than Trump, particularly on foreign policy. And he states that he will never vote for Trump.

If he and others want to take that passive-aggressive stance, fine. I can respect that. As long as there is a recognition that by NOT voting, you are allowing a voting advantage for Hillary.

And further, if you suggest a third-party candidate, be certain to note that a) your third-party candidate has no chance of winning in November and b) if it is a realistic, Perot-level effort, you are GUARANTEEING Hillary as President.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will win the Presidency in November.

Anyone suggesting otherwise is selling you something.
Or someone.


“There are literally dumpster fires in my town tonight…”

A few other notes on Sasse’s “open letter”:

Sasse’s is now dismayed that we just don’t have good enough candidates. Right, except over TWENTY candidates jumped in around nine months ago and Sasse had the opportunity to endorse at least ONE of those people.

Yet he chose not to do so.

And since then there have been debates and discussions and arguments and then…VOTES. Yes, people VOTED for whom they want to be the party nominee.

And in Indiana, a state somewhat similar to Nebraska, over 50% of Republicans voted for Trump! I will tell you, I was somewhat surprised by that. But to now somehow deny or turn those results on their ear is terribly disingenuous.

Then there is Sasse’s claim that people at the Walmart in Fremont come up to him and claim that they hate BOTH nominees!

Beyond the homespun “Walmart folks” schtick (note, I shop at the Walmart that’s a 1/2 mile from my house about 4x a week) and self-selecting sample of hometown shoppers who approach the local leader of the national #NeverTrump movement…it’s bull.

For instance, I’m no fan of Hillary. I’m as close to #NeverHillary as they come. Her voice is nails on the blackboard to me. But even I can recognize that Democrats OVERWHELMINGLY support her. Even those feeling The Bern would (right now anyway…) choose her over ANY Republican candidate. There is no lack of support for Hillary Clinton among Democrats.

And further, there is no lack of support for Donald Trump among Republicans and independents. It is as if Sasse is stuck back in January when the conventional wisdom of all the thinking people was that Trump’s support had a ceiling of 33%. Remember when he was supposed to tank once he got one-on-one with another candidate?

And then there is the little point that Sasse’s fellow Nebraskans haven’t even voted yet. And maybe this is Sasse’s plan to somehow choke that vote. But here is a guess that Trump does OK in the Nebraska primary. But let’s say Cruz still comes out on top. Is Sasse suggesting that the choice of thousands of Nebraskans who did vote for Trump are invalid because of the comments he got from shoppers at the local big box store?

None of this is to say that Trump is the end-all-be-all of candidates. Or that all Republicans like him. But it does mean that elections matter. Voting matters. Rules matter.

“…draft an honest leader to focus on 70% solutions for the next four years as a caretaker”?

What in the name of Bob Devaney is he talking about?

This is beyond silliness.

It is cute that Ben Sasse is sitting at home pleading “WHY can we only choose between Donald and Hillary?”

The answer is that you DON’T have to choose between them.
But one of them WILL be President next year.

Any suggestion otherwise is a farce.

Sasse 2020

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.28.15 AM

**UPDATE 7:30pm Wednesday**

Trump Rally in Omaha on Friday, May6th:
Werner Enterprises Hangar (next to Eppley Airfield)
3619 Doolittle Plaza
Omaha, NE 68110
4:00 PM
Doors Open at 1:00 PM


No Cruzin’

If you’re on the way to Lincoln for the Ted Cruz event at Embassy Suites, you can turn around now and hit an IHOP. With Donald Trump’s victory in Indiana last night, the hope of Nebraska’s influence — well of EVERYONE’s influence at an open convention — is shot.

But Trump said last night during his victory speech that they were still “going to Nebraska”, so the rumored Friday rally in Omaha could still be on. )And the TV stations want to know if he’ll still be spending that $200K!)

Leavenworth St. will keep you updated.


Whither #NeverTrump

But Nebraska still has a great deal invested in not supporting Donald Trump.

While Governor Pete Ricketts said he would support the eventual nominee, his kazillionairre Dad has been bankrolling the #NeverTrump campaign, still headed and Tweeted out by Katie Packer. The Indiana results haven’t slowed her down.

And Ben Sasse, ostensibly the leader of the #NeverTrump movement, re-Tweeted his original position on #NeverTrump, and yesterday called him a narcissistic strongman in the Washington Post.

So where do Sasse, Joe Ricketts, and the whole crew at the National Review go for the next 6 to 54 months? Behind a continuing “#NeverTrump campaign. And as long as others like Cruz and Marco Rubio jump on the Trump bandwagon, Ben Sasse will be their leader.

One fascinating aspect that is all over the Twitter is those who say, “Well, I’m DONE with the Republican Party now!”

Which confuses me. I get that the President is generally considered the leader of the Republican party. But since when has that person dictated what “the party” stands for?

Sure your Chuck Hagels will occasionally leave the party. But the usual course is to go Pat Buchanan and try to move the party back to the direction you want. So those who suggest that Sasse or any of the others need to leave the party or create the Conservative Party are jumping to an unnecessary conclusion. If your ship gets captured by pirates, you don’t just give up the ship. You try to re-capture it.

Some say the Republican Party has needed to be usurped for a while now — that the influence of social conservatives has meant that they will continue to lose elections. They believe Trump’s populist positions will better suit the party. And that battle will continue. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You should have to argue your ideas



While those in the #NeverTrump camp are feeling pretty good about their position right now, they could end up in a quandary.

There is a bit of a consensus that Trump loses badly in the General Election — and that will sit fine with the #NeverTrump camp. They can argue that Trump never had a chance, and that even WITH their support, he couldn’t have won. It works for them and they can ride that as long as they need to.

On the other hand, there is smaller camp which thinks that Trump can not only beat Hillary, but that he will eventually beat her badly (Scott Adams has been saying this for over 9 months now, and the Morning Joe crew may be there).

If that happens, the #NeverTrumps are maybe even better positioned as the conservative wing of the party.  A President Trump would have to recognize, work with them, etc. etc. Really not a bad spot to be in there.

But the problem comes if the race is close.

If it is neck and neck, the #NeverTrumpers will not be seen as “principled”. They will be seen as de facto Hillary supporters. And if she wins a tight race, they will be blamed and ridiculed for some time. Sure they can try to claim that “he had it coming” or “only had himself to blame”. But if it is a CLOSE race, it gets harder to say, “I didn’t support Hillary, I was only not supporting Trump.”

Which one of those scenarios is the most likely?
That’s the million dollar question. (Or qua-zillion dollar, if you’re Joe Ricketts.)


Bacon and Chips

With the Trump win, and sudden deflation of the Nebraska Presidential primary, how will that affect voter turnout, especially in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District?

Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse had been predicting 23%. After a conversation, he is sticking to his guns on that number. He said he had been averaging in a Trump win and doesn’t feel the need to lower that prediction after the Indiana results.

But let us assume that there is some affect.

Does it keep all lower-interest GOP voters at home?
Do the Trump voters show up to spike the ball in Nebraska, especially if Trump comes to Omaha for a rally?
Do they forget, or not bother to vote, still hung-over (as it were) from the Indiana win?
Do Cruz and Kasich and the rest of the #NeverTrump voters show up to make a point?
Or do the party-stalwart voters show that they will control the results?

Or does this mish-mash just come back to the predicted 23%?

And what does this do for Don Bacon and Chip Maxwell?
No full opinion here yet. Feel free to toss yours in.


Salmon Mousse and Sweater

Speaking of brash (aren’t we always), Democrat Rep. Brad Ashford sent out this Tweet yesterday:

Isn’t that cute?

Because, hopefully you remember THIS Brad Ashford from just a few months ago:


That would be FIRST CLASS BRAD lounging in his seat (before the rest of you plebeians get to board). Let us know how the Surf n’ Turf and extra legroom is.

(And don’t even TRY to use Brad’s 1st Class bathroom!)


Leavenworth Street Journal

So a reporter for the Wall Street Journal called in last week asking about all things Cruz and Trump and Nebraska and I gave him my thoughts. But so much of it is now moot after the Trump win in Indiana, that it is almost surprising that they still ran it.

But I was quoted, along with Bill Kintner, Beau McCoy, Jim Vokal, John Murante and others.

Here is the link. It was out from behind the WSJ’s pay wall for a while last night, but now appears to be pay-only. Sometimes those change, so be sure to try back later in the day or week.

But just so you don’t miss it, here is my quote…

One complication for Mr. Trump’s detractors—as it has been from the beginning of the primary—is Mr. Cruz could end up splitting votes with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “There is a real possibility that the ‘Never Trump’ movement will split between Kasich and Cruz, which could give the state to Trump,” said Jerry Kratochvil, who runs the Leavenworth Street political blog.

I stand by my guns!


Only suckers don’t follow @DannyMoe

From the Twitters last night and this morning…


In the Know

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Nebraska on the Horizon

KFAB DEBATENebraska GOP Executive Director Bud Synhorst tells Bret Hayworth of the Sioux City Journal that he expects the Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich campaigns to come to Nebraska this coming week, and that “he has heard all three Republicans will be in the state in events to be determined.

Of course, one would think, the results today in Indiana will have something to do with that.

No matter the results — even if people think Trump is a lock with a win — he still has to get to 1,237 delegates. Now maybe he doesn’t need Nebraska’s 36, but if he thought he could get them, why not make the trip?

But Bud’s sentiments notwithstanding, Leavenworth St. has heard that…

  • Cruz is very likely to come…and they are likely just waiting on making some plans official;
  • Kasich is NOT likely to come.
  • Trump…is anyone’s guess. He currently does have a campaign office (as Leavenworth St. was the first to tell you last week) and he has a team working in Nebraska now.

And he has at least two supporters with a little bit of name ID: State Senator (and former gubernatorial candidate and national chairman for the Council of State Governments) Beau McCoy and State Senator Tommy Garrett (as Leavenworth St. exclusively told you last week).

And it should be noted that at Trump’s rally in Council Bluffs last December, probably 80-90% of the attendants yelled that they had come across the bridge to be there. There have been few Trump rallies that don’t draw a sizable crowd, and there is no reason to think that one in Nebraska would be any different.

All THAT being said, most of the national prognosticators seem to think that Cruz has the lead in Nebraska — whatever that lead may be. There have been no polls released — and considering that Governor Pete Ricketts’ parents are funding the #NeverTrump campaign, and Senator Ben Sasse was the Twitter leader of it all, you’d think that if they had a poll that showed Cruz with a big lead in the state, they would wave it around a little.

Though it is also possible that they’re keeping their powder dry until everyone faces Nebraska.

More tomorrow? We’ll see.


Ted Cruz will have a rally at the Embassy Suites (1040 P St.) in Lincoln at noon Wednesday.

Go to for more info.


Maxwell v. Bacon on KFAB

The candidates for the GOP nomination for the 2nd District Congressional seat took to the KFAB blowtorch this morning with Scott Vorhees to hash out the issues.

Retired Brigadier General Don Bacon and former State Senator and Douglas County Commissioner Chip Maxwell took quite a few jabs at each other during the hour-ish long discussion.

Vorhees came right out of the box and asked about the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s ads on the GOP primary. Maxwell bobbed and weaved, on the one hand arguing that the DCCC wanted the most conservative candidate, him, but also didn’t want to run against the “establishment” candidate, Bacon.

Bacon said the DCCC was simply shooting for the weaker candidate and called on Maxwell to renounce the ads, and things kind of went along from there.

From there Maxwell noted that he had the experience and “battle scars” from being in the political process in Nebraska, and again argued that Bacon was “chosen” by the Washington establishment, as well as the Nebraska establishment.

Bacon shot back that the battle scars he has dealt with are those from troops that he has worked with — and noted that 10 times he has had to notify loved ones of the death of servicemen under his command.

He further noted that he decided to run on his own and went months before anyone outside a group of 3 or 4 was involved in his campaign. He then went on to jab Maxwell, noting that he has suggested a 500% pay raise for members of the Legislature when he was in office. (I believe the number was 500%.)

This point didn’t get any follow-up from Maxwell or Vorhees, but don’t be surprised to hear this issue come up again before next Tuesday.

One funny item was that while defending his time in office, Maxwell noted that Iowa Congressman Steve King has been in office for 13 years, but that no one would call HIM establishment.

Bacon followed up by noting that he (Bacon) will be receiving Steve King’s endorsement later in the day.

See King’s endorsement here:

The issue that dominated much of the rest of the time was immigration, with Maxwell stating that he does not favor any sort of legalization of illegal aliens currently in the United States. He noted that Bacon favors this.

Bacon followed up, noting that while he does not favor citizenship for illegals, he does believe in a legalization process in some way for those currently in the U.S.

Maxwell did not say what his thoughts were for those currently in the U.S. — and didn’t address Bacon’s point about illegal aliens serving in the U.S. military — but both agreed that e-verify needed to be enhanced and supported by the Federal government.

One other point of contention brought up by Vorhees was the death penalty. Maxwell is against it and pointed to the Nebraska case of the Beatrice 6 of where the government got it wrong. Bacon pointed to the Federal cases where Timothy McVeigh and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserved the ultimate punishment for their murders.

Finally, each claimed that they each had better experience — Chip claiming that his in government will better serve Nebraska and Don noting his military experience.

Maxwell seemed to let himself out a little bit on a few issues, where Bacon could have hit him. At one point he noted that if the contest were about who is best to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Don would be the better choice — but that since it’s legislative, he (Maxwell) had better experience.

Don did not jump in to note that one of the main issues that Congress deals with is the military, and thank Chip for his endorsement.

Another was when Maxwell was noting they needed another Contract with American like Newt Gingrich had back in the 90’s. Don did not note that he received Gingrich’s endorsement last week.


In any case, a spirited debate, and both candidates held themselves up well. Considering Maxwell was a radio host on KFAB, Bacon, though generally (ha!) soft-spoken, held his own.


Fischer’s Victory

And to finish things off, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer is spending the week traveling across Nebraska, and put out this video to let constituent know what she is doing in Washington:


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Will Nebraska matter?

SasseTweetsNebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse was in Des Moines over the weekend at the Polk County GOP dinner. (Gauge why, on your own…)

There, Sasse made statements that indicated that Republicans could deny Donald Trump the nomination in Cleveland — seemingly even if he gets to the 1,237 number of delegates.

The Des Moines Register didn’t make it crystal clear what Sasse meant:

“We have a presidential front-runner on the Republican side that’s only gotten about 38-39 percent of all the primary votes cast thus far,” Sasse said. “In the modern primary system … there’s been six contested conventions where the person who ended up winning the convention didn’t go in as the leader, let alone having a majority.”

“As a historical matter,” he added, “lots and lots of times when conventions didn’t have an overwhelming choice, people started saying, ‘Why these people?’”

Is he saying, like some others seem to be hinting, that maybe the unpledged delegates could go to another candidate?

In any case, the Register also says that Sasse says his #NeverTrump position is inspired by Nebraskans:

Sasse said his perspective is informed by his constituents, who are “dissatisfied” with their presidential options and losing faith that they can address the nation’s problems.

This is an interesting point, except that it gets less inspired depending on the voting results in Nebraska next week.

It would take an awfully poor showing by Trump to really hammer that point home.

Then again, if Trump wins Indiana, and doesn’t bother to campaign in Nebraska, Cruz has the potential to hammer him, and for Nebraskans to send a message.


Will for Sasse

Speaking of Senator Sasse, as was Tweeted @LeavenworthSt on Saturday, conservative columnist George Will hates the idea of Donald Trump so bad, that he is willing to suck it up with Hillary for four years, then put his support behind…Ben Sasse:

If Clinton gives her party its first 12 consecutive White House years since 1945, Republicans can help Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, or someone else who has honorably recoiled from Trump, confine her to a single term.

Interesting plan there by Will. Except it doesn’t always work out the way you want.

Watch Nebraska’s 2nd District for the results around that plan.


DCCC for Chip

And speaking of the 2nd District, Democrats have shown their hand about their blatant attempt to influence Nebraska’s 2nd District Republican primary.

First, see the latest version of their pro-Chip Maxwell ad here:

Hilariously the LJS’s Don Walton, venturing into the 2nd, calls this an “advertising purchase by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that promotes Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford.”

Apparently we have all missed Ashford’s name mentioned in the past two ads that both mentioned Don Bacon and Chip Maxwell — oh and don’t ever say “Democratic” either. It’s always the “DCCC.”

And the DCCC is open about trying to hammer Don Bacon as well. They told Politico:

“For us to allow him (Bacon) to be on TV for a month talking about how he’s a general and getting traction with a compelling narrative, it would have been malpractice.”

And Politico quotes a “Democrat insider” who isn’t happy that the DCCC is blowing cash trying to choose Ashford’s opponent for the fall:

“The committee is not suffering from a surplus of cash,” the strategist continued. “That’s a very aggressive move. … To invest this much money implies to me that they felt it was that important that Maxwell is the nominee. … And it can have unforeseen consequences when you mess around in the other party’s primary.”

Stay with Leavenworth St. for updates.


Senators for Cruz

As next week looms, Ted Cruz has built up a Nebraska team.

Senator John Murante, Gretna – Chair
Treasurer Don Stenberg, Gretna – Co-Chair
Senator David Bloomfield, Hoskins
Naomi Brummond, Rosalie
Senator Joni Craighead, Omaha
Senator Laura Ebke, Crete
Senator Curt Friesen, Henderson
Reverend Gary Fuller, Lincoln
Senator Mike Groene, North Platte
John and Elaine Grothusen, Fremont
Senator Dan Hughes, Venango
Senator Bill Kintner, Papillion
Ben Larsen, Blair
Senator Tyson Larson, O’Neill
Senator Brett Lindstrom, Omaha
Joe Murray, Firth
Senator Merv Riepe, Omaha
Senator Jim Scheer, Norfolk
Senator Ken Schilz, Ogallala
Ryan Stungis, Omaha
Marilyn Synek, Kearney
Clinton Warnkey, Stanton
Senator Daniel Watermeier, Syracuse
Pastor Raymond Wicks, Plattsmouth

Well, this helps in updating the support list in the #NELEG.


Janssen for Nebraska

ICYMI, Nebraska State Auditor Charlie Janssen released a scathing report about the spending of the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

It includes taxpayer cash for liquor and cigarettes — sort of a minor amount, but anyone who has expensed anything knows that you never can expense that.

It goes on with, among other things,  paying to fly people around the state for photo shoots. And then there’s “$44,000 fee for a 90-minute speech for the 2015 state tourism conference in Columbus.”

Read the OWH’s summary to get a taste. The report is somewhat amazing.


Leavenworth St. FTW!

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Bacon has Ricketts…er…Ricketts likes Bacon!

Ricketts-BaconGovernor Pete Ricketts stepped into the 2nd District Congressional race as many others already have and endorsed retired Brigadier General Don Bacon yesterday.

Ricketts joined former Governor Kay Orr in the endorsement field, as well as U.S. Senator Deb Fischer. All in all a pretty good haul for Bacon.


Who do you love?

From the same presser, Tom Becka tweeted that Ricketts responded that he is not endorsing a Presidential candidate…yet. But he said also that he will support the Republican nominee, whomever that may be.

Ricketts joins Deb Fischer and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in that sentiment — but obviously not Senator Ben Sasse who arguably started the #NeverTrump movement.

However, Don Walton of the LJS noted a few days ago that…

When the Texas senator comes to Nebraska to campaign, it appears likely he may be greeted by an endorsement from Gov. Pete Ricketts.

“When,” he says.

One assumes that Cruz will come to Nebraska, no-matter-way. But a big question is, Will it be after a victory or a loss in Indiana? If it’s after a win, Cruz will be followed by the press corps and possibly a guy named Trump.

If it’s after a loss, many may pass Nebraska by, with the thought that Trump will definitely wrap it all up in the following weeks.

Though in this season of “anything can happen”, it would seem foolish to think something calamitous COULDN’T happen before the final primaries. And you wouldn’t think someone like Cruz would leave what many are calling a “certain” win in Nebraska to chance.

But if Cruz wins Indiana, it would be more likely that Trump would challenge him in Nebraska. And with Kasich still in the game (though word is Kasich WON’T be coming to Nebraska), there is a chance that a hard Trump push could mean that the anti-Trump vote gets split.

Everyone is looking at Indiana first, but depending on how the chips fall, Nebraska could be up for grabs.


The Trump camp announced that they will be opening a HQ in Omaha at 5006 S. 108th St. (in same plaza as Valentino’s). Find out more on the Trump – Nebraska Facebook page.


The Unicameral POTUS survey

In the mean time, Leavenworth St. reached out to the members of the Legislature, once again, to gauge their interest in the Presidential primary.

Responses are still trickling in, but here is a sampling:

Ted Cruz:
Dave Bloomfield, Laura Ebke, Bill Kintner, Tyson Larson, John Murante and Kathy Campbell.

John Kasich:
Kathy Campbell, Colby Coash and Al Davis.

Donald Trump:
Tommy Garrett and Beau McCoy.

UNDECIDED — or at least stating that they aren’t telling:
Galen Hadley, Mark Kolterman and John Kuehn.

These will be updated next week, with a full list, as responses come in.

Oh, and Democrat Burke Harr also gamely responded that he voted for Hillary in the caucuses. So, ya know, he was the one.


Scoring conservatives

Lest this get away from us, following is the conservative legislative scorecard that John Orr and the Washington County Republicans put together for the recent legislative session.


It is self explanatory, and we can discuss it later next week.

But enjoy examining.


Stay dry

Thanks for reading!

Remember to follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter for updates throughout the rest of the day and weekend! And Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or subscribe to email updates (up top, on the right) to get updated with every new post!

Have a great weekend!

EXCLUSIVE: Senator Beau McCoy endorses Donald Trump

Beau McCoy 02In an exclusive interview with Leavenworth St., Nebraska State Senator, former candidate for Governor and national chairman for the Council of State Governments, Beau McCoy has announced that he is endorsing Donald Trump for President. He is one of the first major local politicians to express his support for the GOP Presidential candidate.

McCoy was an early Jeb Bush supporter, and the co-chair of the Bush Nebraska campaign.

“I consider myself an establishment Republican as much as anyone. I’m a party guy through and through. Clearly I backed Jeb Bush, and we know how that worked itself out,” McCoy said.

“But I’ve sat and watched and listened and I don’t see any other candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton. Kasich ‘s claim isn’t realistic and I don’t see how Ted Cruz can beat Hillary in the general.”

Asked where this support came from, McCoy said:

“I came to this conclusion probably not long after Jeb left the race — but I wrestled with it, which isn’t in my nature. I usually don’t agonize over something like this. I usually make a decision and defend it and go on with my life. This was a little more difficult.”

McCoy said that coming to grips with everything Trump says was something he had to deal with.

“As much as Trump says things that we scratch our heads at, I have to respect him as a businessman, and as someone who has done something in this Presidential cycle that very few people thought he could do — being one of three left standing. That’s something to be applauded. I am not defending everything he has said — but you have to do what you have to to get through the primary.”

McCoy said, for one, he had to come to grapple with Trump’s statements on Planned Parenthood.

“Looking at Trump’s position (where Trump said he supports Planned Parenthood, but not their abortion services), I on the other hand fully support defunding Planned Parenthood in its entirety.

“But I have come to realize that as a Reagan conservative, something Reagan said is that if we can agree on things 80% of the time, we can get a heck of a lot accomplished.

“I agree with Trump’s views on immigration and trade, but I don’t have to agree with him 100% of the time. I probably agreed with George W. Bush more than anyone else. But I have come to the realization that one doesn’t have to agree 100% to realize that the stakes are so high in this Presidential cycle and the future of the nation and the Supreme Court, that it is so important that we need to get behind the strongest candidate.”

McCoy also discussed the argument that Trump’s negatives are too high to beat Hillary Clinton.

“Trump’s high unfavorability will be the least concern in this particular race. Who can believe that Hillary’s are as high as they are in a two-person race? But politics is a tough sport, and it’s one worth defending.

“Regardless of who is president, and in the environment we’re in, with the number of Americans who are disgruntled with Congress and the White House, an entrepreneur and businessman has the opportunity to speak a message that resonates with a good number of Americans. And Trump has the potential to bring in a number of people to the polls who have never voted before — the turnout in the GOP primaries has been record breaking.”

A number of conservatives, from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse to the conservative publication National Review, say Trump will turn conservatism on its head. McCoy responded:

“I think it is a low chance that would happen. I have studied history, and the claims from those in the conservative movement and the Republican party are similar or the same to what was said in 1976 and 1980 about Ronald Reagan.

“We loathe change in the party and in conservatism. And Trump is as major of a change that any party has ever had. There is fear built in and that it’s something people don’t know. I wish Trump had been a Republican all of his life, but I don’t know if that it is as important as the here and now.”

While McCoy has been in touch with the Trump campaign, he has not been asked to be a state chairman, or otherwise be involved officially in the campaign…yet.

“I made contact through an intermediary to a highly placed operative, though I am not sure of the campaign structure. They don’t have much of an organization in Nebraska. Nothing like the Cruz campaign has. I am not otherwise in contact with them, and I haven’t said I want to be the state chair or anything — though I probably would if asked. This is a personal decision on my part, not based on working with their campaign.”

McCoy said he has been lobbied by colleagues to be involved with other campaigns.

“This is nothing personal against Ted Cruz or any other campaigns or individuals. (State Senator John) Murante has pleaded with me to get involved with Cruz, and (Senator Dave) Bloomfield — I just told them I wasn’t inclined to get involved.”

McCoy said he did not know what the plans were for the Trump campaign for the May 10th Nebraska primary.

“I am not in a position to know the campaign’s decision making process. I would imagine that they are going to concentrate on West Virginia (which also has their primary on May 10th).

“But in Nebraska, there weren’t any early high-profile supporters for Ted Cruz. So Nebraskans may still be open with their decisions.

“And there may be some under the radar swelling in the state. The immigration debate was always a big deal, and after the recent votes of the Legislature, that isn’t where a majority of Nebraskans are. There may still be some volatility in the Presidential race.”

McCoy had originally responded to Leavenworth St. on a survey of State Senators regarding their support in the Presidential race.

Later State Senator Tommy Garrett also expressed his endorsement of Donald Trump:

“The people have spoken. Only one person has a mathematical path to the nomination. We can’t afford Hillary. Our next President needs to be someone who supports a strong military, legal access to medical cannabis, a strong 2nd Amendment and income tax relief. A businessman who will fix the VA, honor our commitment to our Veterans, invest in America’s infrastructure and fight against burdensome overregulation. Donald Trump fits that bill, he’s going to get stuff fixed.

“Kasich and Cruz both could be wonderful Presidents in the future. We need to rally as a party to elect Trump and get a Conservative in the White House.”

Leavenworth St. will have an update from the September 2015 survey of State Senators on their Presidential preference in coming days.

Dancing on the Ceiling

makeDonald Trump’s wins last night knocked out another talking point that had been considered a FACT since back in August: Trump won’t break 50%.

I said it here in September:

I think he has a ceiling under x% that he probably can’t top.

(Notice how I nailed the actual percentage…)

At the time, my guess was probably around 35%. And the CW was that there was no way he could win in a two-man race.

Now the question is, can Ted Cruz stop Trump in Indiana.

Many think that is the dividing line between a contested convention and Trump winning straight up.


Cruzin’ and Polin’

And the Cruz forces still think Nebraska is important.

Leavenworth St. was alerted that “someone” is calling on the GOP Presidential race in Nebraska, asking the Trump-Cruz-Kasich question.

But from there it is all, “what do you think about Cruz” Qs.

And extended sample:

If the election were today, who would you vote for? Probably or definitely?
  • Might I change my mind?
  • Who would be my 2nd choice?
  • Who do I think is the most prepared to be president?
  • Who do I think is the most prepared to be commander in chief?
Statements: More/Less likely to vote for/No difference
  • Donald Trump is facing a lawsuit from former students of Trump University, etc.
  • On abortion, Cruz will order the attorney general on day one to investigate Planned Parenthood
  • Cruz won’t allow entry of immigrants from countries with radical terrorism
  • Cruz has a comprehensive plan to rebuild the military after the sequester cuts
  • He is endorsed by Glenn Beck
  • Cruz will repeal and replace Obamacare
  • Cruz has introduced legislation to revoke citizenship from US citizens who fight with ISIS
  • Kasich supported expanded Obamacare in Ohio
  • Prior to being governor, Kasich received over $600,000 from a company, then after being governor, the same company received the same amount in state funds
  • As president, Cruz will build a wall on the southern border and beef up the border patrol
Agree/Disagree, somewhat/strongly
  • Ted Cruz has a record of standing up to the Washington elite
  • 5 former presidential candidates have endorsed Cruz

All predictions are that Cruz will hammer Nebraska for those all important Winner-Take-All delegates. Those Cleveland voters are a big deal, and the fact that it is one big bite of 36 could still make a difference.

Also interesting is that during Trump’s victory speech, he named a number of states where he was “going to do well”…Indiana, Oregon, California. But conspicuously (to me anyway) he left out Nebraska.

Has he already written it off?
Does he plan to battle for those delegates?
Will he visit and eat a Runza while putting on a CornHead?

Well, the last one is unlikely.
But one can hope.

And for your consumption, here is an interesting map from the Wall St. Journal of the current delegate breakdown:

delegate map


Ringing true

With Trump’s foreign policy speech this morning, many were immediately hammering him on the Twitter for mispronouncing “Tanzania” — where he said something more like “tan-ZANE-ee-uh” (rhyming with Tasmania).

It’s a long speech, and I’d probably give him a pass.

But same goes with the Drudge and media freak-out that Ted Cruz — allegedly — called the basketball hoop at the “Hoosiers” gym a “ring”.

It got a top spot on Drudge, and many were saying how out of touch he was to say such a thing in Indiana of all places.


Here is a YouTube version of the press feed at the rally.

The point everyone is gasping at is at the :30 second spot.
And I will give that it does sound like he says, “riNG”.
Or maybe even “riMG”. Or possibly “riNGM”. Or maybe just “riM” with some mic feed.

BUT…go to the :20 second spot first.

And he CLEARLY says “How tall is that basketball riM?”

There’s no doubt about it. So I get where it sounds like he says “ring” (and if there was an image of his mouth saying it, that would make is clearer) but the idea that he doesn’t know that it is called a “rim” is dopey, and is simply fed by an idea that people want to believe he’s an out-of-touch doofus who doesn’t know anything about sports, Indiana … or the everyday Joe Sixpack!

That partisans on both sides can’t be a little more honest always disappoints.



And the cat is pretty much RRRRRrrrrrrr! out of the bag on who Ted Cruz is announcing for his running mate at 3pm today.

Carly Fiorina.

But funny to note that Jon Karl told this to George Stephanopoulos already this past Sunday:

These things are difficult to keep under wraps.


Newt n’ Bacon

And for those of you keeping score, GOP 2nd District Congressional candidate retired Brigadier General Don Bacon rang up another endorsement today:

Newt Gingrich.

Senator Bill Kintner is taking credit:


Same Bat-Channel!

Keep the Twitter dialed to @LeavenworthSt for updates throughout the day!

Cruzin’ Nebraska

Heidi Cruz in Norfolk, Nebraska on Monday

Seeking Heidi

If you are reading this in the Lincoln, Nebraska area sometime before 2:30pm on Tuesday, note that Heidi Cruz (i.e. Mrs. Ted) will be at Apothecary Lofts & Ridnour Room, 140 N 8th St, from 1:15 – 2:30pm.

For more info, check the Facebook invite.

Mrs. Cruz visited Omaha, Fremont and Norfolk yesterday.



In all of the hustle and bustle over the weekend, it was missed that the OWH endorsed retired Brigadier General Don Bacon over Chip Maxwell for the Nebraska 2nd District GOP Primary.

Now stop your screaming.

That does not mean that Bacon is absolutely ruled out from winning now!
It makes his task just more…challenging.


Now with all of the heart-warming mentions that the OWH made about Bacon, don’t think that they’re not playing the long game.

They’ll still endorse Brad Ashford in November.

And they’ll couch it with, “But see! We had endorsed Bacon!”


DC via OMA

Noted by a politico after the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s nearly half a million dollars worth of ads for Chip Maxwell in the 2nd District Republican primary…

The DCCC’s Political Director is a guy named Ian Russell.
Russell’s political pedigree includes…

  • Campaign director for the Nebraska Democrat Party.
  • Legislative aide to Democrat Nebraska State Senator Tom White.
  • Consultant for Tom White’s Congressional campaign against Lee Terry.

Gee. One wonders which DC Democrat could have such strong feelings about Nebraska’s 2nd District race that they would stick their nose all the way into the Republican primary.

It is funny that no one on either side can think of any time a party has gone so far as to buy ads directly for another party’s Congressional candidate. As noted here before, that’s pretty brash.

And one can only think of who would want to show what a big D he can be by swinging his way into the other party’s primary.


Say it!

On that note, the Don Bacon campaign called on Chip Maxwell and Brad Ashford to denounce the $430,000 worth of ads being paid for by the Democrats in favor of Maxwell.

Sort of a pro forma act by the Bacon camp. If they don’t say it who will.

Of course Maxwell is just shrugging it off, and no doubt couldn’t be happier.
And Ashford will absolutely do no more than lift his shoulders up and down to indicate he dudn’t know nuthin’.


Requiescat in Pace

The Republican political community is mourning the loss today of Paul Welday who died at the young age of 57 in Michigan.

Welday was the chief of staff, and top political lieutenant of former Omaha Mayor P.J Morgan.

Welday managed Morgan’s initial campaign for Mayor in 1989. He then went on to work in the Mayor’s office during Morgan’s first term, before heading to bigger GOP pastures. He spent most of the rest of his career in the Michigan area, including working for U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg.

Take a look on Twitter and Facebook and you will see an outpouring of emotion for the gregarious Welday from friends and colleagues, on both sides of the aisle.

I-95 Tuesday

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Bacon or bacon?

Republican 2nd District Congressional candidate retired General Don Bacon has a new ad out.
See it here:

This ad is currently in rotation from Bacon’s previous buy.

It’s a whimsical ad, that mainly looks to up Bacon’s name ID.

I like it…but I’m not crazy about the ending. He asks the guy, in theory, if he likes “(Don) Bacon”, and the guy who is shopping for bacon responds that EVERYBODY loves…(small “b”) bacon. But that isn’t really the answer he was looking for.

Better would have been Don referencing bacon (the meat), and the person responding about how much they like Bacon (the person).

But I do like that they changed the ending tag to add the office (as opposed to just the one star):

Bacon tag

Name and office. Name and office. Name and office. (Just like on the ballot.)

In any case, this will likely kick up Bacon’s name ID, which is the goal. Oh, that and the tidal wave of ads about the GOP primary by Brad Ashford and his DC cronies.


The Heidi Game

The final rounds of the Presidential campaign have made their way to Nebraska.

Team Ted Cruz will be in Omaha, Fremont and Norfolk today. Here are the details for Heidi (Mrs. Ted) Cruz’s visit:

Omaha Meet & Greet with Heidi Cruz and State Sen. John Murante
TIME: 12:00 – 1:45 p.m.
VENUE: Big Fred’s Pizza Garden
ADDRESS: 1101 South 119th St, Omaha, NE 68144
Fremont Meet & Greet with Heidi Cruz
TIME: 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
VENUE: J’s Steakhouse
ADDRESS: 406 North Main St, Fremont, NE 68025
Norfolk Meet & Greet with Heidi Cruz
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
VENUE: Black Cow Fat Pig
ADDRESS: 702 W Norfolk Ave, Norfolk, NE 68701

Mrs. Cruz we suggest getting the Goodie Roonie, a corner piece of the hamburger pizza, and of course the onion rings.

No word, yet, about visits next week by Ted, John Kasich, or possibly The Donald.

All of the national folks have been saying that Nebraska will go Cruz, but there has yet to be any poll giving any solid numbers.

Now with the coordinated effort of Kasich pulling out of Indiana, and Cruz pulling out of Oregon and New Mexico, it isn’t clear if therefore they all will  be competing in Nebraska.

And of course, once the votes are cast, the net big question will be who will be elected delegates that weekend to go to the convention in Cleveland — and who those delegates would support on the 3rd ballot.

That has the potential to be as big of a deal as the vote on Tuesday.


Flutie Era Grad

Since this will go up before the correction, just a very important note in Robynn Tysver’s story on Chip Maxwell in the OWH:

Maxwell went to Boston College, not Boston University.



More updates as they come in…
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Ashford’s ploy

Kudos to the campaign for getting these signs printed lickety-split
Kudos to the campaign for getting these signs printed lickety-split

If you missed the Leavenworth St. post from this morning, regarding the DCCC’s ad buy for Chip Maxwell, be sure to go back and read it…and send it to your Republican friends.

In particular, send it to your mom or your dad or your grandma or your uncle who has no idea who the “DCCC” is. As a political op noted, catch that tagline:

“The D-C-C-C is responsible for the the content of this advertisement.”

Hmmm. Looking for the word “DEMOCRAT” there. Not so much, eh? That would be because they are trying to SLIP IT BY YOU.

Don Bacon held a presser in his campaign office this morning (wonder if Amanda McGill’s husband was hiding under the couch…) and proudly stated that he wears “Nancy’s Pelosi’s targeted fear with pride.”

Which he should. But just make sure you let some of the senior members of your family and friends understand just who it was who made that spot.

The funny thing is, all things being equal, Bacon and Maxwell have very similar positions — as often happens in primaries. But now Brad Ashford has made it crystal clear who he wants to run against. His Democrat Establishment cronies just pumped more cash into the Maxwell campaign ad budget than Maxwell and Bacon had raised combined.

And some say, “oh, well campaigns do this all the time…”. But no. No they don’t. Not like THIS anyway. They don’t just make a giant ad buy in the other party’s primary. This one will likely gain some national attention.

Just have to wait and see if 2nd District Republicans are paying attention.


Great Debate

And so you can follow along, here is the League of Women Voters debate from yesterday at the Omaha Press Club, moderated by the wily Gary Kerr!

This vid is from the Bacon campaign, and is busted into 2 parts:

The take-away was that the candidates didn’t differ much.

One area was that Bacon said he did not want to have American boots on the ground to fight ISIS. Maxwell disagreed, at least saying he didn’t want to rule it out.

Beyond that, jump in with your own observations.


Fischer staying cool

In her weekly press call, Senator Deb Fischer answered my question saying that she will not be campaigning with any of the Presidential candidates in Nebraska over the next two weeks.

She said that she had not been asked to, and further as a Marco Rubio supporter, she feels the Nebraska GOP voters should now have their say.



The New 3 Stooges 01In former State Senator Jeremy Nordquist’s Sine Die video venerating term-limited State Senator Heath Mello, I would just like to point out that he used one of the photos created by moi, and posted here on Leavenworth St.

That would be Mello as the bowl-cutted one in the middle.

And as Homer says, “Moe’s their Leader!”


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