Repub…er…PARTISANSHIP is evil!

CORNHUSKERGONEDon Walton or the LJS hates it when Republicans vote in lock-step.

Hates it.

It’s a bad thing. George Washington hated it! George Norris hated!
George Foreman…has yet to weigh in.

Oh but if Democrats vote in lock step vote after vote after vote after vote after vote?
Mehhhhh… that’s just Democrats being Democrats.
Nothing to see here.

So in his long list of people who are good because they don’t stay with their party, he cites…Ben Nelson.

Hmm. Now, if ONLY there were an example of a a time where Ben Nelson voted party above all things. A vote that was STRICTLY on party lines. Where the Democrats jammed a bill through with zero support from Republicans.

A vote where it was alleged that Ben Nelson essentially accepted a bribe in order to vote on an issue that changed fundamental systems in the country.

Ya see, if Democrats do it, Don can’t even be bothered to cite the example.


Mankind was my business

AP’s Grant Schulte writes about how Pete Ricketts, a businessman, is arguably running the state counter to the wishes of the business community.

While this may be true, it seems that isn’t what people are looking for when they seek a business person in charge of government.

Instead the usual theme is that they want the government bring business practices to state government.

While the business community may want their concerns to be first on the Governor’s list, by the nature of the office, that will not always be the prevailing thought.

Shulte was going for a little different gist in his article, to be sure. But what he didn’t hit were Governor Ricketts’ moves like hiring Felix Davidson as COO, Brenda Hicks-Sorensen as Economic Development Director and Sharon Pettid as Human Resources director — all of whom were fired or moved out of those highly-paid and publicized positions in 2015.

Whether government can be run “like a business” is a concept that looks to be ever evolving.


No medical marijuana petition…this year

The plan for a signature petition for medical marijuana apparently was retired for the year, after organizers cited the cost of getting signatures as a primary reason.

State Senator Tommy Garrett was quoted by the AP saying that it could cost around $1M to get signatures together.

Garrett plans to try legislatively again next year, which could, in theory be more successful — or less — depending on new studies or analyses of other states’ plans.

As the science on this improves, one would think a plan will come out sooner than later.


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Could Ben Sasse become the Republican Bob Kerrey?

Kerrey-SasseA former writer for Buzzfeed gave a quirky anecdote on Facebook recently about spending time with Nebraska’s Junior U.S. Senator Ben Sasse:

Ben Sasse grabbed my arm in a Senate hallway & said “Watch this.” He swung us into a nearby Georgia Senator’s office, walked right past the receptionist, got down on one knee & started raiding the fully stocked mini-fridge of Coca-Cola products. “What do ya want? It’s an open bar!” he shouted.

Arms full of drinks, he thanked the “good people of Georgia” for their “donation to Freedom,” bowed & walked out.

I shrugged at the exasperated receptionist. “He does this every day,” she said.

One of Sasse’s campaign lieutenants thought this was a good-one, and Tweeted it out.

Other readers emailed it to me, with a sort of astounded, “is this for real?”

It’s easy to look at it both ways.

Sort of a quirky, fun, playing-out-of-bounds kind of guy.
(The Georgia Senator’s staff probably thought it was pretty funny, the first few times.)

Or, a knock-it-off already, what are you doing here?, strange move.
(The Georgia Senator’s staff probably tired of it, after the first few times.)

So here is Ben Sasse: a Freshman U.S Senator, who is already making national news. He has become the darling of the right. He represents a fresh face in politics and Washington, among the stodgy old gray-haired men who have populated it since it rose from a swamp.

There was a similar rise by a young politician from Nebraska.
Bob Kerrey.


Bob Kerrey was the smart, young Governor who came out of nowhere to beat incumbent Charlie Thone in 1982.

He dated a movie star! He danced at the Springsteen concert!

He forced a train full of nuclear waste to halt at the Nebraska border, and obey his commands, before it moved across Nebraska.

He was “Rockin’ Bob Kerrey” and everyone loved him!

But at some point…his quirks stated to show.
He quit as a one-term Governor, only to make a comeback as a Senator.

But soon, even those in Washington found his continual wavering to be…distracting.

He went from “Rockin’ Bob” to…“Cosmic Bob”.

He eventually left the Senate and moved to New York City — where he was arguably happier with his new family.

(If you ever read the follow up to Anonymous Joe Klein’s “Primary Colors” — “The Running Mate” — you can see that it is essentially about Kerrey — a former war-hero Presidential candidate who moves to New York and becomes “happy” with his new surroundings.)

And then when he tried to make a comeback, 30 years after Nebraskans had first met him, he ran into a female cattle rancher who suggested that she was “someone who will bring Nebraska to Washington, not Washington to Nebraska.

Nebraskans were done with Cosmic Bob, and he shuffled back to be happy with his family in New York City.

These days Kerrey still makes the rounds on some of the cable politics shows. But when Nebraskans refer to “Bob”, they’re talking about a bridge named after him.


This is not to say that Ben Sasse is on any trajectory that Bob Kerrey was on. But he has already staked out a different position than most are used to.

He arguably was not the national party’s first pick for the Republican nomination and bucked some of the traditional campaign methods, to win the seat.

He has shown that he is hip these days with the younger demographic, by going directly to the people using social media’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to deliver his message.

He is continuing to buck his own party on its Presidential nominee, even going so far as to knock his home state Republican base.

Many say, hey, “I like that quirky, fun, playing out-of-bounds style.”

While others are saying, “Knock it off.”

In this year of Bernie and The Donald, Sasse’s “Bust in and grab some pop!” kind of style may be just what the electorate ordered.

Then again, as maybe he was saying to the Washington press corps, Nebraska doesn’t always ride with the rest of the electorate.


The local press seem to be fomenting some sort of a rift between Junior Senator Ben Sasse and Senior Senator Deb Fischer.

For what it’s worth Deb Fischer, as noted above, suggested back in 2012 when she was running against Bob Kerrey — before anyone in politics had heard of Ben Sasse — that she is “someone who will bring Nebraska to Washington, not Washington to Nebraska.”

And Ben Sasse’s first proposal on the 2014 Senate campaign trail was this:

“We move the Capitol to Nebraska.”

Probably the same campaign slogan, put in two different ways. Probably.


Bob Kerrey told CNBC that because he increasingly doesn’t agree with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he feels like “a man without a party.” Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said a while back, “the Republican party left me.”

And Ben Sasse says he is on the “neither” Presidential bandwagon — but with a dwindling Third Party option, it is not clear which way he will steer.

As some will say, that’s Ben Sasse being Ben Sasse.
At some point Nebraskans may decide whether that means he’s Rockin’, or Cosmic.


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The Tweeted Commandments

PowersauceGovernor Pete Ricketts’ knock-down of the Obama Administration’s “directive” on high school bathrooms was swift and direct.

Why? Because he took to the Twitters!

The Governor issued his positions 140 characters (or less) at a time in 5 tweets to get out the message:

Of course my feed got a little jumbled when the 4th and 5th Tweets were interrupted by this tweet…

…so I was briefly confused.

Senator Ben Sasse chose to take to the Twitters again today to troll Donald Trump, asking Trump to answer the questions that he has posed to Trump…on Twitter. For instance…

Sasse was responding to The Donald, after Trump suggested in an interview that Sasse hated him. Now one must assume that Sasse was NOT talking about this serious tweet…

No response from many yet on Trump’s SCOTUS suggestions, but one would assume that will hit the Twitters soon.

And I’m the first to say I love me some Twitter — but does every release these days have to be stuttered out in that format? It IS possible to just give the headline to your release, and add a link. Or take a screenshot.

Reducing one’s self to that 140 character limit is just…strange. (And this is speaking from someone who has stuck with that as well.)

It always reminds me of Homer Simpson’s demand to Marge, after realizing the energizing strength of apples in POWERSauce bars:

Sorry, I only eat food in bar form.


The FOURTH way

As we hurtle forward towards the General Election, the latest poll out now, has Trump up 45%- 42%. And one should take that poll, 6 months out, with the same gravity that everyone gave the one showing Hillary up a week ago (i.e., very little).

A few interesting wrinkles of late.

Mitt Romney and Tom Coburn have both said in the past two days that they will not run for President under a Third Party banner. And Nebraska’s Ben Sasse has said the same thing, repeatedly. Another recent article quoted Erick Erickson and others saying that if a Third Party campaign wasn’t organized by the end of May, there is no way — mainly financially — for one to succeed.

But Joe Scarborough recently threw out a different twist. Forget a third party, how about a fourth party?

Suppose an angry Bernie Sanders runs, after losing the Primary to Hillary. Then a fourth conservative candidate jumps into the fray. If you’re splintering four ways, you could, in theory have…something.

I would still put my money on either the Republican or Democrat nominee. But like a primary with lots of serious candidates, a four-way splinter means the winner needs a much lower threshold for victory.

And then the counting in the Electoral College could get really weird.

In this political year, would much else surprise you?


Leaving it all on the field

And in the world of sports, Omaha South defeated Omaha Creighton Prep to win the State Soccer title. The only goal of the game was scored on an “own-goal” when the Prep keeper deflected the ball off of one of his own players, and into the net.

But the most interesting thing was the post-game photo — of BOTH teams — that has been making the rounds on the internets:

Prep-South 2016

Here is the description from the OWH’s Nick Rubek:

First, find Prep’s Ed Gordon in the back row. The Junior Jays’ best player has his arms over the shoulders of two South players and a huge smile on his face.

Then look up front, just to the left of the trophies. There you’ll see Junior Noutoua of Prep seated with South coach Joe Maass’ son Nolan leaned up on him, game ball tucked firmly in his arms.

It’s a snapshot of everything that is right in sports: two teams that have no problem knocking you on your butt between the lines and extending a hand for a shake when the match is over.



Tip Top

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Sasse PR effort edits OWH story, fails to include apology

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.46.48 AMNebraska Senator Ben Sasse waged an all-out Public Relations battle yesterday, after telling Washington, D.C. reporters that delegates at the Nebraska Republican Convention were not “representative of what most Americans think and what most Nebraskans think.”

Yesterday Sasse…

• Paid for Facebook ads to say he was praising the NEGOP
• Held an interview with KFAB’s Chris Baker
• Held an interview with the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Don Walton
• Held an interview with the Nebraska Radio Network’s Brent Martin
• Sent out emails from the “Sasse for Senate” campaign address

It was that last one that was especially curious, for a couple of reasons.

First, you saw yesterday that Sasse’s comments (quoted above) after he gave his speech at the Washington, D.C. American Enterprise Institute, were reported exactly the same in the Washington Examiner and in Joe Morton’s story in the OWH.

Here is the Washington Examiner headline…


Washington Examiner headline


And here is the original, online OWH headline…


OWH online headline


Ah, but that was before the OWH’s print headline writer got their hands on it — or someone got to them.

Because the PRINT headline read:


OWH print heaadline


Now those two headlines for the same story in the OWH are just a bit different, eh?

Same story, mind you, where Senator Sasse says that Nebraska GOP delegates don’t represent most Nebraskans — and further that the Republican party is a “failed enterprise”.

But, “praises”…

And guess which headline Senator Sasse (still says “Republican” under his name) used in his campaign emails yesterday to Republican Party members. Except that he pulled quotes from the story and conveniently chopped out the intro paragraph that included Sasse hammering the NEGOP.

That email looked like this:

Sasse Email

And the paid Facebook ads used the same headline with a photo saying Sasse praises Nebraska activist.

On KFAB and in the LJS, Sasse talked like he has for months, about how he doesn’t like Donald Trump.

He also suggested to the Nebraska Radio Network that most Nebraska Republicans don’t want Trump. Which is an interesting position to take, seeing as Trump won 61% of the Republican vote statewide.

But Sasse did not address his suggestions of a Third Party candidate, and how this conflicts with his position as an elected Republican.

He certainly did not address his statement that Republican delegates don’t represent the ideas of Nebraskans. (Yet, still asks for donations in the email after bashing Nebraskans???)

And he did not apologize for going to Washington and trashing those Nebraskans.


Ashford loves Bacon (polls)

Democrat Congressman Brad Ashford has concurred with the recent poll put out by Republican General Don Bacon’s campaign that shows Bacon up on Ashford:

Ashford email

Well come now Brad. Your peeps, the DCCC noted that Bacon is the centrist candidate in this campaign.

And the polls agree with them:

Don Bacon (R) . . . . . . . 44.15%
Brad Ashford (D) . . . . . 42.38%
Steven Laird (L) . . . . . . . 5.09%
Undecided . . . . . . . . . . . 8.38%

So at least we are all in agreement.

The DCCC says General Don Bacon is the centrist candidate to represent the 2nd District in this campaign.
And Brad Ashford agrees with Bacon’s poll.


The Clintons and The Kleebs

Well, it took a week, but the OWH has discovered the Wall Street Journal’s story (which is now out from behind the paywall, so you can read for free) about Scott and Jane Kleeb’s “energy” company in Hastings, that is foisted up by tax payer money and Bill and Hillary Clinton’s non-profit foundation.

And here is a shocker.
Scott Kleeb, “could not respond in detail to the story now.

Could not or would not?


Day and Night

Hey if you think people enjoy fighting in the comments section here on Leavenworth St., you should see how they do it on Twitter!

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Sasse trashes Nebraska Republicans

Sasse - NEGOP convention exitAfter a vote by 400+ delegates at the Nebraska Republican Convention on Saturday where they expressed near unanimous disapproval of Senator Ben Sasse’s call for a Third Party Presidential candidate, Sasse went back to Washington and bashed Nebraska Republicans.

He told the Washington press, after he gave a blistering speech at the American Enterprise Institute, that the Nebraska GOP delegates:

“…are not necessarily representative of what most Americans think and what most Nebraskans think.”

A more tone-deaf and insulting statement has probably never been uttered in Nebraska politics.

(Note the OWH’s Washington correspondent wrote a story on this, but it is difficult to find on their web page. Here is the link.)


The magnitude of the insult that Sasse just threw at Nebraskans is stunning.

First, Sasse went to the Nebraska Republican Convention last Saturday knowing that the delegates there were anxious to hear him speak about his views on the Presidential election. Nothing has been more on the minds of political observers than this.

When the national press talks and writes about “Third Party”, you can almost guarantee that Ben Sasse’s name will follow.


Because that is all Ben Sasse has been talking about in social media and the news for the past six months.

He has been interviewed by the national press specifically about his political views.
He has had late night Twitter wars with Donald Trump.
He prints a 1,500 word manifesto on Facebook on why he thinks there needs to be an alternative to the Republican Party.

So the anticipation was great when he entered the room on Saturday.

But then he offered a bit of pablum to those in attendance, saying that he realized they have “differences.”

And then he launched into a speech that many in the room complained was the exact same one he gave to the county conventions. A nice speech, mind you, about his daughter’s experience at a ranch. But a) a repeat, and b) not what people were hoping to hear.

To top it all off, Sasse then went to the back of the noisy room (he was difficult to hear when you were 6 inches away) and spoke at reporters for one minute and 45 seconds. After he rejected a local TV reporter’s pleas to give her one minute on camera in the lobby, and ignored the local newspaper reporter’s questions about his Third Party plans, he abruptly stormed out of the room, with the TV reporter chasing him.

So no new speech. And no time for the local press.


But then Ben Sasse returned to the friendly confines of Washington, D.C.

And he took the stage in front of the DC elite cognoscenti at the American Enterprise Institute. He was the keynote speaker for their “Vision Talks”. (Clearly not speaking to the Nebraska rubes at a Century Link conference room.)

There he opined about

“…economic models throughout history, from hunter-gatherer societies to the new digital information age.

“When he tied his economic analysis to politics, he leaned into the ‘plague on both your houses’ critique of the major parties, describing them as ‘two failed enterprises.'”

Maybe it is not surprising that Sasse did not have the courage to tell the Nebraska Republican Party’s delegates that theirs is a “failed enterprise”.


But Sasse also was comfortable enough with his Washington DC press to tell them how out of touch he thinks those same Nebraskans are.

Nebraskans, and Republican delegates like Governor Pete Ricketts and Senator Deb Fischer. Delegates like State Senators Bill Kintner, Joni Craighead, Laura Ebke, Merv Riepe, Nicole Fox, Ken Schilz and Bob Hilkemann. Former Senators like Chris Abboud, Scott Lautenbaugh and Tony Fulton. Delegates like City Councilwoman Aimee Melton, and County Election Commissioners Brian Kruse and Wayne Bena.

And those are just some of the elected officials who ALSO took the time and effort to be part of their county parties, then garner enough votes from those around them to become state delegates.

That doesn’t count the over 300 delegates who are just involved in their party, because they want to be involved.


But Ben Sasse is probably right. The Nebraska Republican delegate AREN’T necessarily representative of how most Nebraskans think.

For instance, the NEGOP delegates think it’s important to VOTE. Heck an overwhelmingly majority of Nebraskans — 75% — didn’t think that was important to do last Tuesday. (And yet, 60% of those Republicans who DID vote still filled the oval for Sasse’s sworn enemy, Donald Trump.)

And don’t say Nebraskans didn’t vote because they were mad that Ted Cruz dropped out. Because NEGOP delegates know that it’s important to vote for your House race, your state Senator and your School Board rep.

Most Nebraskans don’t think it is worth their time to educate themselves about the local bond issue or about who is running for NRD Board.

Most Nebraskans don’t think it is important to work at the polls on Election Day. Most don’t think it is worth their time to volunteer at their schools or places of worship or Little League.

But Nebraska Republican delegates think ALL of those things are important enough to give them their time and attention and effort.

So maybe they don’t think like a majority of Nebraskans.
But because of the way they DO think, Ben Sasse should be giving them twice as much attention.

Instead of insulting them and dismissing them out of hand.


Leavenworth St. will have more on this and other issues this afternoon.

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POLL: Bacon over Ashford & Trump over Hillary in #NE02

Don Bacon - Florence DaysA poll put out by the General Don Bacon for Congress campaign shows both the Republican nominee, Don Bacon ahead of his Democrat opponent Brad Ashford, as well as the likely Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, ahead of Hillary Clinton in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

The results:

Don Bacon (R)                        44.15%

Brad Ashford (D)                    42.38%

Steven Laird (L)                      5.09%

Undecided                                8.38%


Donald Trump (R)                  43.70%

Hillary Clinton (D)                 35.85%

Undecided                               20.45%

The poll conducted by The Singularis Group was an automated survey of 1,007 likely General Election voters in NE02 with a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of +/- 3.08%

This is the first public head-to-head poll with Bacon and Ashford, and Trump-Clinton in Nebraska.

2016 #NEGOP Convention breakdown

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.56.23 AMThe Nebraska Republican Party has a Constitution. All of the members vote on it, and it is pretty regular stuff.

Here is section 14 of the document — printed in the programs at the Nebraska GOP Convention in Omaha on Saturday:

No member of the State Central Committee or Executive Committee shall endorse a NON-Republican candidate in any election.

That is unambiguous.

And the resolution that was proposed by Nebraska political consultant Sam Fischer, then rewritten, “reviewed and recommended for approval” by the eight-person Resolution Committee, read:

Be it resolved that the Nebraska Republican Party strongly opposes any effort by Republican elected office holders or party officials to encourage a third party candidacy for President of the United States because this would result in the election of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the appointment of liberal justices to the United States Supreme Court.

And it was pretty clear that the 99% of Nebraska delegates agreed, that this resolution was reasonable as well.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse and his people were not happy about this.
And they were not going to go down without a fight.


The Anticipated Speeches

So on Saturday in the upper convention rooms at the Century Link Center in Omaha, about 400+ Nebraska delegates gathered to discuss this resolution. And hear some speeches. And decide who gets that trip to Cleveland (paid for by the delegates themselves…).

Nebraska’s Senior Senator, Deb Fischer, set the tone for the day during her speech:

“We cannot elect a President Hillary Clinton.”

“It is not the elites in DC, not the pollsters or opinion page writers who decide. It is the people who decide.”

“I am committed to supporting the Republican ticket from the top to the bottom.”

She was unambiguous in her intentions.

She never said Ben Sasse’s name, but after she was done, the buzz was, “What will Sasse say!?”

Sasse was next.


Deflated baloon

Ben Sasse took the stage to a standing ovation.
Same as Deb Fischer, and later Pete Ricketts and Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith and Don Bacon and even Attorney General Doug Peterson.

And Sasse began..

“I acknowledge difference on political issues and tactical questions…”

But that was it. And he then launched into the exact same speech that he gave at the Douglas County Republican Convention. And others around the state.

But after Sasse’s Facebook Manifesto, delegates expected a discussion. Or a debate. Or at least an expansion about why Sasse feels their votes and their efforts and their debates in the Republican Presidential Primary — from which there is a presumed nominee — doesn’t get any further discussion.

These delegates are the people who go door to door, who make the phone calls, who hand out the literature and pass out stickers. They deserved a discussion from the most outspoken person on the #NeverTrump and Third Party issue. Instead they got a very nice story about Sasse’s daughter, but it was not what anyone was waiting to hear from him.

And when confronted by reporters, Sasse refused to do an on-camera interview.
And he refused to answer any questions from reporters about the #NeverTrump or Third Party issues, claiming it was too “little”. That “the people” wanted to hear about “big issues”.

He took to the back of the loud convention room with a few reporters clustered around him. After protesting that he needed to leave to get to another engagement, the OWH’s Robynn Tysver responded:

“Thats one of the gripes I’m hearing from Nebraskans, it’s like you’re running away all the time, I hear that quite a bit.”

Sasse responded tersely, that he “talks to Nebraskans EVERY day.”

And then,…he cut out as fast as he could.

KETV reporter Camilla Orti literally chased him down, and the best we got was something about wanting to talk about “big” things, and not these “little” things.

You know, the “little” things that he wrote a Manifesto about on Facebook.

And then he rode the escalator out of site.


Pete goes rogue

After some voting and such, Governor Pete Ricketts got up.

He started out by giving a full-throated support of Donald Trump:

I know about contested primaries. But we have the person who is going to be the nominee and that person is Donald Trump.

There have been some suggestions that Ricketts is still hedging his bets on Trump. His staff had told people that Ricketts did NOT endorse Trump, instead saying only that he is “supporting” the eventual GOP nominee.

Unclear what the difference is, unless that’s how they keep things civil in the owners’ box at Wrigley. But if Ricketts is keeping some sort of #NeverTrump card up his sleeve, it was not apparent at the Nebraska GOP Convention. Everything he said indicated he is behind Trump.

And people were into it.

But then things got weird.

Recently with the legislative primaries, Ricketts was essentially credited with the defeat of State Senator Les Seiler, as he campaigned for Seiler’s opponent. Seiler had opposed Ricketts on a number of bills, and this was seen as payback.


And then Ricketts, apparently feeling his oats, decided to lash out at other GOP Senators who have opposed him.

And we mean EVERY Senator. Called out.
By name.

Including some sitting in the audience.

In bill after bill.

He asked, “Folks what’s the deal?”
And then hammered Senator Bob Hilkemann who was sitting in the audience.

This was an interesting tactic by Ricketts. But to what end?
The time for shaming Senators would generally be…before they vote. Or maybe before the election. Because that way there is at least some result.

But here, all Ricketts did was make some people very, very angry at an event that was supposed to be all about Republican unity.

In a political sense, what was the gain? One could even argue that now Ricketts owes THEM a favor, after all of this.

Sure there were some who thought it was great that the Governor showed these Senators up. But what the use is of that in the long run, is not clear.


The votes

And then came the votes…
Let’s hit the resolutions, which garnered a great deal of interest, before heading back to the delegate votes.

The “Third Party” resolution had very little debate. For a period of 10 minutes, delegates were allowed to approach a microphone, and taking turns for either side, make their case for or against.

There were no party stalwarts lined up on what was essentially Ben Sasse’s side. There was not an organized opposition to the resolution. What some believed would be a spirited issue, turned into a landslide.

Robynn Tysver Tweeted that the thought the voice vote was 400-8.

I thought eight was a bit generous — more like 5 — but I won’t quibble.


All the things Republicans hate

But the Sasse side was not going to go down without trying to hammer Donald Trump on the way down the escalator.

Their competing resolution looked like this:

Be it resolved that the Nebraska Republican Party strongly opposes all degrading remarks towards women, minorities and other individuals by Republican elected office holders or party officials, including candidates for President of the United States, because such rhetoric tarnishes the GOP’s legacy as the party of Lincoln, alienates millions of Americans, and jeopardizes Republican majorities in the Nebraska Legislature, the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate.

My first reaction? This will sail through. Who DOESN’T support this?
And why stop there? How about being against child abuse? Arson? Bad thoughts?

But other delegates saw it for what it was: a political IED. Improvised Explosive Device.

Sure everyone was for the concept. But then all Democrats (or Third Partiers) will say, “Ah ha! See even Nebraska Republicans hate what Trump is doing!”

And then if they don’t pass it, “Ah ha! Look at those evil Republicans! They are FOR degrading comments towards women! See! Seeeee!!!”

And so the Nebraska Republican delegates took the third option.
They tabled it.
That was the vote: We choose NOT to vote on this issue. One delegate called the resolution, “like it was written by Nebraska Democrat Chairman Vince Powers himself.”

Of course those same Democrats and Third Partiers, after seeing Sasse hammered at the convention, took to the Twitters and decried the GOP’s move, anyway.



Hello Cleveland!

A final note about the delegate selection.

The likely result of the delegates at the convention is that they will vote on the platform and say “Aye!” at the convention. But the idea that they will be heavily involved, as they would have been at an open convention, is very likely done.

That isn’t to say there wasn’t still jockeying for the spots. There was a rumor that Ted Cruz forces were still trying to hammer in their people. That largely failed.

There was an early agreement between the Ricketts and Trump people on delegates, with Senator Fischer’s name added. The Ricketts people changed a number of those names at the last minute, and there were absolutely some who were angry about that.

But 400 delegates still had to vote, and while there were some who were unhappy, you didn’t hear a steady din from those who thought it was a travesty. Stalwart Republican Hal Daub is a delegate. Former Chair Mark Fahleson, a Sasse lieutenant and #NeverTrump-er, is a delegate. Sam Fischer, original author of the “anti-Third Party” resolution is a delegate. Former Governor Dave Heineman’s wife, Sally Ganem is a delegate.

Who says the Nebraska GOP isn’t a big tent?

And just a final note that Senator Deb Fischer was there to the very, very end voting on delegates and alternate delegates. And Governor Pete Ricketts was there giving final instructions to the elected delegates. For some, it was a long day.


Here is a list of delegates elected to the National GOP Convention in Cleveland:

1st Congressional District
Bob Enven
Charlie Janssen
John Orr

2nd Congressional District
Hal Daub
Nancy McCabe
Aimee Melton

3rd Congressional District
Judy Glassburrner
Greg Safranek
JoAnn Smith


Wayne Bena
Debby Brehm
Naomi Brummond
Brian Buescher
Paul Burger
Mark Dreiling
Mark Fahleson
Sam Fischer
Sall Ganem
DeeDee Kelly
Bill Kintner
Coby Mach
Pat McPherson
Cash Ostrander
Chris Peterson
Peggy Popps
Mervin Riepe
Rob Schafer
John Sieler
Darlene Starman
Don Stenberg
Mary Jane Truemper
Jon Tucker
Faith White

At this time I do not have a list of elected Alternate delegates.


KFAB Afternoon

I am scheduled to be on KFAB’s Chris Baker show today around 2:10pm to talk about this past Saturday’s festivities. 1110 on your AM dial, or listen online at or on the iHeartRadio app.

And while you’re listening to Chris and Scott Voorhees and the rest of the KFAB gang, be sure to follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter for loads and loads of fun and games. And Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or subscribe (up top on the right) for email updates.

Because THAT is how you follow the talk of Nebraska politics!

Nebraska Republicans will vote on resolution to chastise Sasse’s third party plans


**UPDATE at 4pm Saturday, 5/14**

Delegates at the Nebraska Republican Party Convention voted overwhelmingly by voice vote in favor of the quoted resolution.


The Resolution Committee of the Nebraska Republican Party has unanimously approved a resolution to be proposed at Saturday’s Nebraska Republican Convention that will oppose any effort by an elected official to support a third party Presidential candidate.

The effort by state Republicans is believed to be a response to Nebraska’s U.S. Senator Ben Sasse who has stated that he would support a third party candidate.

The resolution, which will be presented to convention delegates Saturday, reads:

Be it resolved that the Nebraska Republican Party strongly opposes any effort by Republican elected office holders or party officials to encourage a third party candidacy for President of the United States because this would result in the election of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the appointment of liberal justices to the United States Supreme Court.

Showing his opposition to the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Senator Sasse has made a number of statements.

In February he wrote on Twitter:

A few weeks ago he Tweeted, among other things:

In response, Nebraska Republicans are being asked whether it is unreasonable that those who ran as Republicans and speak before the Republican Party as office holders and party officers, should be held accountable if they support as the top office holder in the country, someone from another party.

The resolution is clear, and for the average party delegate, shouldn’t be too difficult.

Sasse will be among a number of office holders and party officials to speak at the convention.

Follow Along!

Jerry Kratochvil (a/k/a Street Sweeper) will be at the Nebraska GOP Convention on Saturday.

Follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter, and follow along and join in at the convention by using the hashtag, #NEGOP.

Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or subscribe (up top on the right) for email updates with every new post.


As noted in the Nebraska Republican Party Constitution, the proposed resolution is much less stringent than Section 14(d):

(d) No member of the State Central Committee or Executive Committee shall endorse a NON-Republican candidate in any election.

Endorse shall mean…

(1) a reported campaign contribution, or

(2) A public display or statement of support by either

(i) print of electronic media, or

(ii) a written statement.


DATELINE: Kleeb Ranch, Hastings, NE

NYPostcover051316Yesterday the Wall Street Journal took a deep dive into former Nebraska House and Senate candidate (and Mr. to the Mrs. Jane) Scott Kleeb’s “Energy Pioneers Solutions”, with the dateline “HASTINGS, Neb.”

The gist of the article is that former President Bill Clinton steered millions of dollars to Energy Pioneers from the Clinton Global Initiative, which is used to support non-profits. Problem is, Energy Pioneers is very much a for-profit company.

And then the WSJ takes a hard look at who owns Energy Pioneers. You may recall that it was started by Scott Kleeb, but in order to get various grants, it was called a “Woman-Owned” business.

Well, the WSJ breaks down the ownership of Energy Pioneers:


And then the WSJ hints — and then the New York Post blares on its front page — that socialite Julie Tauber McMahon of Chappaqua, New York, who is an equal owner to Scott Kleeb, is one of Bill Clinton’s side-honeys.

The WSJ essentially suggests that the entire operation may have run afoul of federal tax law, and was covered up by the Clinton Global Initiative to hide Bubba’s relationship with McMahon.

And then there is the little matter of the actual success of Scott Kleeb’s baby:

“Energy Pioneer Solutions has struggled to operate profitably. It lost more than $300,000 in 2010 and another $300,000 in the first half of 2011, said records submitted for an Energy Department audit.”

“Recently, Mr. Kleeb laid off most of his staff, closed his offices, sold a fleet of trucks and changed his business strategy, promising to launch a national effort instead. “We are right now gearing up to start under this new model,” he said. Asked if Energy Pioneer Solutions has ever broken even, Mr. Kleeb said, “We’re at that stage…We are expanding and doing well. We have partnerships, and it’s good.”

Because when your government funded business fails, the next step is to expand!

This is likely not the end of this story.
And it is probably worth your investment of $12 to get a subscription to the WSJ to read.


Third Base

ABCNews yesterday reported on the effort to get a third major presidential party to support a candidate for President.

And still at the center of this third party bid, as reported by ABC, is Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. ABC quotes Sasse’s lament about the two party’s likely nominees, “WHY is that the only choice?”

Sasse has said that HE will not be a third party’s nominee, and has suggested someone who he think would be a good choice.

It is not known yet whether Sasse would leave the Republican Party in order to venture in another direction.

But The Hill today is reporting that many see the third party movement fizzling out…because of lack of money.

Billionaire GOP donors on record as opposing Trump are skeptical at best about such an effort.

Hedge fund manager Paul Singer and the Ricketts family – who combined have spent at least $7 million opposing Trump – have told associates that they are theoretically open to the idea of funding a third party bid.

But privately, several GOP fundraising sources in interviews with The Hill scoffed at the idea of a third party candidate as a fevered dream of elite conservatives who are hopelessly out of touch.

The word is that if something is put together by the end of May, the third party option is “as good as dead.”


Fischer standing firm on #NeverHillary

You may have seen all the hub-bub going on with Donald Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill yesterday and his visit with Paul Ryan.

But the OWH’s Joe Morton also reports that when Trump went to the other side of the Hill to meet with Republican Senators at the NRSC HQ, one of those at the meeting was Nebraska’s Senior Senator, Deb Fischer.

Fischer has been saying for months that she would support the Republican nominee, whomever he or she may be (though she endorsed Senator Marco Rubio during the primary).

But after some private questioning of Trump at the meeting, she gave a stronger response to reporters:

“I know what we’re getting with Hillary Clinton and I will not be a part of handing her the presidency.”

One would think that ties in with the above story.


See you on Saturday!

Strange developments regarding Saturday’s Nebraska Republican Party convention in Omaha.

Though he dropped out over a week ago now, Ted Cruz’s campaign is STILL calling Nebraska delegates prior to the the state convention.

The thought is that Cruz is somehow still hoping to garner state delegates to his side in order to elect his slate as Nebraska’s delegates to the national convention in Cleveland.

Nebraska’s delegates are pledged to vote for Donald Trump on the first two ballots — and all predictions are that he will win the 1,237 delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot.

But there are other matters that still get decided by delegates.

Those include issues before the credentials and rules committees — and Cruz has done a strong job at capturing state delegates to, in theory, vote how he thinks.

It is not clear what the plan is at the convention in Omaha Saturday. There is at least one slate of delegates that will be proposed, but it is unclear if there will be more, and who will be proposing them.

There are 140 people running for the 36 slots for National Delegates. All will be voted on by the 400 delegates to the state convention. Will they all be Trump people? Will there be a majority of Cruz people?

Heck, will they be a majority Ricketts people?

Don’t forget that while Pete has said he supports the Republican nominee…that nominee hasn’t been officially chosen. That won’t happen until the convention. And the Anti-Trump, “Our Principles PAC” funded by his dad, Joe Ricketts and the Ricketts family, is still humming right along.

Can anything still happen in Cleveland?
Is there still a plan for that?

Don’t know. But one wonders if things in Omaha will somehow keep a plan alive.


Getting Final in LD07

At 11am today, the Douglas County Election Commissioner, Brian Kruse, posted the latest results after counting early ballots.

The results from South Omaha’s Legislative District 7 are:

Tony Vargas. . . . . . . . . . 1,192 …..44.95%
John Synowiecki . . . . . . . . 734…..27.68%
Nicole Fox . . . . . . . . . . . . . 720…..27.15%
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 ……0.23%

A recount looks likely for the first week of June.


According to Math, only have a recount if the difference in votes is less than 1% of the winner’s vote total — i.e. 11 or 12 votes. Since the difference is 14 votes, it should NOT trigger a recount….unless the provisional ballots change that.


They call him Mello Yellow

Tired of politics in 2016?

Well how about 2017?!

Twitterer and local political consultant Rod Edwards tweeted that he received a polling call regarding State Senator Heath Mello.

His analysis:

Too extensive to be testing water. Hard message test. Looks like there will be a Mayor’s race in 2017.

Mello has never hidden his deep desire to be Mayor of Omaha, so this relatively early expenditure to try to acquire the office isn’t that surprising.

We can likely expect to hear more of his criticisms of Omaha and his plans for putting the Democratic Machine back in charge.

Politics never sleeps.



And Leavenworth St. never sleeps either!
Leavenworth St. is always on the clock, hour after hour, day after day, night after night, keeping YOU updated on the talk of Nebraska politics!

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By following @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Liking Leavenworth St. on The Facebook. And then you can subscribe to Leavenworth St. (up top on the right) to get email updates.

Because THAT is how you will be in tune with Nebraska politics.

Counting and Conventioning

bacon-640x520Count and re-Count

ICYMI, the race for Legislative District 7 will come down to a review of early and provisional ballots to decide who came in second. Former Democrat State Senator John Synowiecki has a 10 vote lead over incumbent (appointed) Republican Senator Nicole Fox.

They expect to finish counting next week, and then will have a possible recount in the first week of June.

All that being said, the winner, Tony Vargas, ended up with 400 more votes than each of the two challengers, and Fox would have a tough time in the Democrat heavy district.

Then again, you never know what can happen, and the final tallies could still be a big deal.


The Nebraska Tally for Trump

Pundits on both sides of the aisle are making a deal out of Donald Trump’s 61% win in Nebraska on Tuesday. On the one side, they are claiming a big win for Trump. On the other they are claiming that Trump should have done much better.

A cautious review sees that it was about just right.

Consider that just a week before…A WEEK… Ted Cruz was supposed to win Nebraska easily. He was going to rally in Lincoln, and there was had been talk that Trump might just cede Nebraska and go on to other states.

But once Cruz, and Kasich, dropped out, many Nebraskans probably felt cheated that they didn’t get to have their say. So some voted the way they had been planning to for months. Others jumped on with the likely nominee. And others likely stayed home. Consider that if you didn’t have a Congressional race — like in the 2nd and 3rd Districts — and didn’t even have a Legislature race, only your duty as a voter was pulling you to the polls.

And consider that in the May 2012 Nebraska Primary, Mitt Romney still only pulled in 70%, with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul getting the rest. And in 2000 George W. Bush got 78%, but John McCain still got 15% and Alan Keyes 7%.

Republican voters will likely eventually make their way to Trump, but it is silly to think that in a matter of 7 days, a mass of Cruz supporters was going to not at least let their voices be heard.

And in the end, only the Lancaster County Republicans didn’t give Trump a majority (by 1%).

The party has a lot of healing to do, but the Nebraska results weren’t evidence that any rift can’t eventually mend.


Mmmm..bacon basket…

Feeling pretty good about themselves, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent a little gift over to their counterparts at the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee: a basket of bacon (that’s Bacon, as in Don).

The “gift” included a note, which read:

Dear DCCC,

We know you were heavily invested in the outcome of the NE-02 GOP primary election and things just didn’t go your way. In fact, you spent more than $430,000 of your own members’ money to see the very candidate you were afraid to face, Brigadier General Don Bacon, win with 66% of the vote.

So to help you cope with your loss, we wanted to provide you with a delicious snack that the entire office can enjoy – bacon. Everybody loves bacon, right?

NRCC Communications Department

Gloating aside, you have to admit that the DCCC spent a chunk of change in Nebraska and has absolutely NOTHING to show for it.

They didn’t send out any message to Nebraska voters, other than that “Chip Maxwell sure is conservative”. They arguably made Don Bacon more palatable to Democrats and Independents who have now been convinced that Bacon is more to the center than Maxwell.

And they put down a significant marker that they are afraid of Don Bacon.

That’s an 0 for 3 for the DCCC. And they now have half a million less in their pockets.

A little gloating by the NRCC probably doesn’t hurt to send the message one more time.


It ain’t over yet

The Nebraska Republican Convention is this Saturday, and it will be interesting to see if there are any fireworks in the end.

The odds are slim that there will be, but there seems to still be some life out there that things could get weird at the convention in Cleveland. Many of the #NeverTrump forces still seem to be competing in the primaries, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to stir things up at the State and National conventions.

13221231_10101234167086693_2231135770450781473_oAnd then there is that small matter of electing 36 Nebraska delegates to be national delegates. Nebraska delegate Chris Chappelear posted this pic on The Facebook of those vying for his vote.

Leavenworth St. will try to keep an eye on it for you.

Be sure to particularly follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter for updates throughout Friday and Saturday.