Bruning takes another cut at Ricketts

by Street Sweeper on April 18, 2014

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A new TV hit in the Governor’s race on Pete Ricketts from Jon Bruning, called, “Ricketts Fights for Ricketts“.
See it here:

We understand that Bruning is swinging back at Ricketts, but we don’t care for this “billionaire” line of attack.

This is essentially the same thing Ben Nelson said about Ricketts — he laid people off, he challenged his tax assessment. We don’t like the idea of attacking Ricketts because he’s rich. We didn’t like it when Nelson did the class-warfare stuff and we don’t like it here.



How is your soul Ben?

This was Glenn Beck getting to the nut of the U.S. Senate campaign in Nebraska.

We have no idea what he was gunning for here.

In any case, Beck interviewed Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse back to back on his radio show. We will say this: it was the closest we have come to an actual debate in the Senate race so far. Too bad he didn’t have Sid Dinsdale and Bart McLeay on.

But the thing to consider about Beck, or any radio host — particularly the national ones — is that they are about themselves. Not their guests. They didn’t get to where they are because they keep things down the middle. They’re opinionated.

So while Beck was relatively fair to Osborn, Shane had to have an idea that he was playing an “away game” when he went on Beck’s show. Sort of like playing UConn at Madison Square Garden. Sure it’s not their home court, but you know they are going to get the majority of their fans there.

Beck is a Mike Lee guy. He hates Mitch McConnell. Since those are the main tenants of Ben Sasse’s national campaign, you would have to figure Beck was going to go into the interviews with that bias.

That said, here is the Osborn interview:

And here is the Sasse interview:

We really suggest you take a listen if you’re undecided. You may find one of the other or neither to your liking.

But it is at least compelling to hear Beck call bullshit to a few of their answers and challenge them a little more than has occurred in certainly any debate setting.

And presumably you will find out more about Ben’s soul.


And to finish up on the enduring question of “how many years did Ben Sasse spend in Washington, D.C.”, we have come up with a few final answers: 7.5 years “lived” there, 6.2 years “worked” there. This is all, presumably, in the contest of was Sasse a “bureaucrat” in DC for a “decade”.


There was a shake up in Nebraska’s 3rd District GOP primary yesterday.

Congressman Adrian Smith’s challenger, Tom Brewer, had his campaign manager, Christine Vanderford and communications consultant, Dan Parsons, resign.

This was ostensibly because Brewer decided to bring in a personal friend, Col. Tony Baker of Florida, to run the campaign for the final 27 days. Baker is not known to have any political campaign experience.

Said a source:

“While in-fighting is common in political campaigns, in my 20+ years of political experience, I’ve never seen a more brazen, naive exhibition – all of which has been allowed by the candidate.”

You might say it is like bringing in a communications consultant to run the final days of your military invasion of Afghanistan. Not the wisest move, and not the way to keep your troops behind you.


Back in the Senate race, last night Shane Osborn held a teleconference Town Hall with anti-tax firebrand Grover Norquist.

On April 25th, Sasse will hold a rally in North Platte with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator Mike Lee and former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr.


The Nebraska Family Alliance has put together a Video Voter guide with ALL of the Governor and Senate candidates.

Each of these videos is 4 – 6 minutes long.

You can see all the Governor candidate videos here.
You can see all of the Senate candidate videos here.

We will try to spread these out over the next few days, so as not to overload your browser.

First we will give you Tom Carlson for Governor:

And Bart McLeay for Senate:


Pro-Sasse PAC fires back at Osborn

by Street Sweeper on April 17, 2014

After a direct hit at Ben Sasse by Shane Osborn, a pro-Sasse PAC replied with an attack ad on Osborn.
See it here:

We will say this about the ad: At least it uses new photos of Shane Osborn.
You can’t say the same about the local Omaha newspaper:

Fishwrap article images

(Osborn needs to put out a Subway Jared-style before and after shot.)

In any case, the next question that popped up is, Who is funding this ad?

This is curious only in that there was certainly no question about who was taking the swing in the anti-Sasse ad. There was Shane Osborn standing there telling you what (or who) was the greatest threat to the U.S. of A.

Here, Ben Sasse said:

“…neither I nor my campaign coordinated any messaging or spending with this group.”

The group in question would be “Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska“.

Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska has exactly ONE donor: Rupert Dunklau of Fremont.

He gave the PAC $100,000.

If you frequent the Midlands University campus, you may recognize that name.

Dunklau School of Business


And while this seems res ipsa loquitur, it got even more loquitered when it turned out that Dunklau is Ben Sasse’s great uncle!

Uncle Rupert

And then said great uncle, who personal and solely funded the ad (and we would presume all of the PAC’s website design and hosting costs), said regarding the ad:

“I honestly am not familiar with what you’re talking about.”

Well then.

So look. As the Swamp King said, “Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who!

We all know who is ultimately behind this ad. And we really don’t care — up to denying it with the “I’m running a positive campaign,” nonsense.

This is what we expected, and this is what we’re getting.

We are just sad that this is the last we will see of these ads…


As long as we are still hashing out that last anti-Sasse ad by Osborn, we would just note that there was still quite a bit of back-and-forth about how long Sasse lived in the DC area.

Osborn said, “nearly a decade”.

Some Sasse peeps said it was only 4 years as a “bureaucrat”, and then only 2 and a half working with the House.

We followed up, and had it confirmed that our “7 to 8 years working in Washington, D.C.” estimate was essentially correct.

So, math-wizards, does 7 1/2 = “nearly a decade”?
(Feel free to keep bickering about the “bureaucrat” part. We already had our say in the last post.)

(Ah, we are finally glad we can talk about “The Issues” in this campaign…)


Governor candidate Beau McCoy has a new ad out.
See it here.

McCoy pushing the anti-ObamaCare message (via horse!) here.

We note that McCoy will be very competitive in the ad space with Ricketts and Bruning over the next three and a half weeks. We will be interested to hear how his numbers move and what effects this has on the other campaigns.


Because it’s there, we toss in this Shane Osborn YouTuber, entitled “Saving a Dollar“:
See it here:

This nice little piece is currently listed as a “web-ad”, but we won’t be surprised to see it on the air at some point.

Note that ANYONE, if they wanted to, can apparently just grab this piece and put it up on TV themselves, if they want to.

(We aren’t crystal clear on all the rules for this, so if someone else tells us we are wrong, no problem; lay it out then.)


Lee Terry’s Congressional campaign has had a stellar fundraising period.
For the 2014 cycle they’ve raised $1.39M, with $700K cash on hand.

Heck any of the statewide races would be happy to have that kind of scratch.


Osborn hammers Sasse on TV

by Street Sweeper on April 15, 2014

Shane Osborn has a new ad out hammering Ben Sasse as a “Washington Bureaucrat“.
See it here:

Note that even after talking about Sasse’s DC ties, Osborn appears and says,

The greatest threat to our nation today is not a foreign enemy.
It’s a government run by Washington, for Washington.

Well then.

Are we wrong then that Osborn is saying the “greatest threat to our nation” is…Ben Sasse?

This is the new face of Al-Qaeda?

Bin Sasse

OK, maaaaaybe pull back on the rhetoric, just a bit there Shane.

Now camp Sasse is also pushing back on the “Sasse spent more time working in Washington than working in Nebraska, nearly a decade as a government bureaucrat“.

As near as we can tell that is not exactly true.

Sasse looks to have spent somewhere around 7 to 8 years working in Washington, D.C. or the DC metro.
We suppose that’s “nearly a decade”.

But for about half of that it would be hard to say that he was a “Washington bureaucrat”.

For a little over a year and a half he worked for the Justice Department, Homeland Security and Jeff Fortenberry. (Not sure you call a Chief of Staff to a Congressman a “bureaucrat”, but it’s certainly an “inside DC” gig.)

Then after a time as a professor in Texas, he worked for HHS in DC for 2 years.

So we will give him four years, give or take, as a DC “insider”.

The ad shows this doc:

Osborn ad

So for the other 4 years to account for in the DC area, the Wikipedia, which looks to us like it concurs, says:

Beginning in August 1996, Sasse commuted and worked remotely from Northern Virginia.

Sasse graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1998, with a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.[3] During his master’s studies, Sasse was employed as a tutor/proctor for the page program by the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

Sasse graduated from Yale with a Master of Arts degree (M.A.), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), all from the Department of History in 2004.

During his time at Yale University, Sasse worked as a teaching fellow from August 1998 to May 2004, as consultant/acting executive vice president for Westminster Seminary California of Escondido, California from August 2001 to October 2002.,and wrote and conducted research from Washington, DC from 2002-2004.

So while he was doing research in DC, and was worked with the House page program, we aren’t so sure you’d call that time as a “Washington bureaucrat”.

We aren’t sure why Osborn felt they needed to go the “decade” route. They could have just as easily said he spent more time in DC than in Nebraska, and it would have still been accurate.

So they needlessly went over the top on the years, and Shane himself, goes over the top with the “greatest threat” line.

We gotta say, that is going to make people take notice. They are either going to nod in agreement or questioningly tilt their heads (you know, like a dog does when it’s confused, and makes that “mmmrrrwwrr?” sound) and go “huh?”

Our guess is the latter.

Shane is a balls to the wall kind of guy. If this race is close, he is going to go all out.

And this race, no doubt, is close.

Sasse has more money, and has a slew of orgs who would be more than happy to drop a few TV bombs in favor of Sasse. Sasse has received more free media than any other candidate. And with this ad, Osborn has has shown that he is worried enough about any lead he may have that he needed to go negative hard.

And then there is another factor.


You may have noted that Sasse has a million in the bank and Osborn has $700K in the bank.
And then there’s the guy who OWNS the bank.

Keep in mind that Sid Dinsdale has the ability to drop a cool million on this race with whatever he finds in the couch cushions. And he has a message to go with that of being a Nebraska guy who has helped build businesses, create jobs, etc. etc.

We aren’t saying that it will happen, but if you are looking for a candidate to pull a Deb Fischer, in this one it would be Dinsdale.

And that will make Osborn nervous, and potentially Sasse as well.

Four weeks out, we are in the thick of it.


And then Hal Daub jumps in an endorses Osborn.

Just to shake things up even more.

And we cracked up at Hal’s statement that “neutral is just not Hal Daub.”

And not referring to himself in the third-person would also be the equivalent to “Neutral Hal”.

Just another example of how things will rock back and forth for a month.


In the Governor’s race, Pete Ricketts tweeted:

Check out this new poll from @weeklystandard that shows Pete up by 4 points #negov

“This new poll” that is linked, is actually a link to a newsletter from The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol.

In the newsletter, Kristol says that while he was traveling in Nebraska (apparently when Sarah Palin endorsed Ricketts) he saw a poll that said Ricketts was ahead of Jon Bruning by 4 points.

While we do not really doubt that there may be such a poll, that is very different from it being a Weekly Standard poll, especially when Kristol also seems to be quoting the recent Rasmussen Senate poll.

We would all probably agree that the Governor’s race is very close, and may even be neck and neck between Bruning and Ricketts. And then add to that the carpet bombing that the broad Team Ricketts is making on Bruning that has no doubt taken a toll.

Will Bruning have enough to bruise Ricketts?
What effect will Beau McCoy have with his nearly million bucks?
Can Bryan Slone slip in?
Will Mike Foley’s name ID be enough if he doesn’t have the cash?



By the way, if you are interested, we are now hearing that it is possible, maybe, that while the anti-Bruning ads were not paid for by Joe Ricketts, they MAY have been paid for by the Koch Brothers and/or billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Politico looked at the “billionaire’s caucus” here.

In any case, the gist being that fellow gazillionaires can look at each other, give that nose-swipe motion Paul Newman and Robert Redford give each other in “The Sting”, and a giant bag of ad money drops in the race of their choice.

We aren’t sure if people care or not that it is a Ricketts hit on Bruning, but it is certainly different than Shane Osborn putting his name and face on a negative ad, than just the name of some group you never heard of.

But like we have said, probably the last of these types of ads in Nebraska this spring.




Getting weird in #NESEN

by Street Sweeper on April 11, 2014

A late Friday afternoon post for your pre-weekend pondering.

First, a new ad out from Jon Bruning for Governor, entitled “Leading the Charge“.
See it here:

We suppose this is fine as far as spelling out what Bruning has done in his career.
Otherwise, we are not sure that Nebraska voters will be overly impressed with AG’s from other states singing Bruning’s praises.

He’d be better off having all of his law-enforcement endorsers cutting a spot for him.
Maybe they will.


Beau McCoy for Governor has a new ad called, “Fight Against Taxes“.
See it here:

Hey, we’re just glad we weren’t driving the other way down that road!

Decent piece, invoking Governor Heineman, cutting taxes, etc.
We have a feeling McCoy is still working on introducing himself to voters, and will need a lot more of these to cut into the polls.


Mike Foley for Governor has a new ad out called “Water Resources“.
See it here:

This piece looks like it was done by the exact same team that put out the recent Bryan Slone piece.
Sure the Ogallala Aquifer is awesome. And water is awesome. And Nebraska agriculture is awesome.

So why again does that mean anyone should vote for Mike Foley?

Unless there is some crazy polling out there that says these ads are effective, we don’t get it.


FWIW, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” lists the Nebraska GOP Senate Primary as the best primary in the nation, as in “not to be missed.”

Says Cillizza:

Midland University President Ben Sasse is a somewhat unusual standard-bearer for the tea party, given his time spent in Washington in the Department of Health and Human Services and his alliances with GOP establishment types. But he has rallied the conservative base to his side against state treasurer Shane Osborn, the early favorite. A poll conducted by The Polling Company last month showed Osborn at 35 percent and Sasse at 24 percent. The primary is May 13, and the winner will undoubtedly become the next senator.

Of course much of this is because of the weight being throw around by the Republican factions in Washington, each “claiming” a candidate. The DC “Tea Party” types, as you know, have not so much as embraced Ben Sasse, as they have put a bear-hug strangle hold on him.

They are expressing their dislike of Mitch McConnell by stating their dislike of Shane Osborn, and thereby supporting Ben Sasse, because some of McConnell cronies (now including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham) have supported Osborn.

This weirdness has led 50-some Nebraska conservatives — many/most of whom support Osborn, yet consider themselves Freedomworks Tea Party types — to write an open letter to Freedomworks expressing their dismay at FW’s support for Sasse.

Of course this letter would have been more effective had they not expressed a displeasure for Sasse — many are Osborn supporters, but also Dinsdalers and possibly a few McLeayites. Sasse’s peeps responded by pointing out this is just an Osborn campaign tactic.

And they’re right. But of course, the letter is true as well.

No one in DC has consulted Nebraskans on whom to support.
Freedomworks and Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint and John McCain and all the other DC groups are all doing this endorsing for themselves. Oh sure, there are a few true believers who find the candidates to be their guy and are pressing for him.

But for the most part, this has become a strange DC powerplay, with Godzilla and Megalon battling it out while swinging from Chimney Rock.

Would anyone be THAT surprised if the DC people had gone the opposite way with Osborn and Sasse? Or if they had picked McLeay as the smartest guy in the room? Or if they thought Dinsdale brought the most experience and gravitas?

This primary can go a lot of different ways. And in the end, Nebraska Republicans will win.

What it will do for DC, we don’t know.


If you would like, you can see most all of the GOP candidates’ responses to Nebraska Right to Life’s election questionnaire here.


And completely unrelated, but for your viewing interest, see this Washington Post graphic to get a good idea of what looking for that Black Box ping from the Malaysian Airliner is like.


Let the ads take over

by Street Sweeper on April 10, 2014

A quick Separated at Birth inspired by Micah Mertes’ list of worst sequels (and not sure how you keep “Caddyshack 2” off that list):

Ben Sasse and Jamie Kennedy from “Son of the Mask“!

Sasse - Kennedy - SAB 01


If you watched the GOP Senate “debate” last night, we feel your pain. Once again, a pretty worthless endeavor.

If voters needed to know that all the candidates are very intelligent and well informed, job done. (And please, no one ask Bart McLeay, the LeBron James of name remembering, to recite every Mideast leader again…)

But if you hoped for any separation, fireworks, confrontation or anything else, you got a big fat zero.

Here is a perfect example:

Q: Would any of you support earmarks?
A: “No.” “No.” “No.” “No.”

So there you go.

This debate started with a question about campaign financing and transparency.

Well guess what, Media? If you did your job in these debates and forced the candidates to call each other out on stage instead of with 30 second ads, that might not be an issue.

There was a single question that tried to force that, and not much happened.
EVERY question should have been, “how do you differ and with whom?”

Otherwise, on debate number three, what’s the point?


Two bits of polling information in the Senate race.
And we do mean “bits”.

First, The Weekly Standard had this:

“…private polling in Nebraska by an independent outside group has the race dead even at 31-30, a slight edge for former state treasurer Shane Osborn.”

They go on to note that Osborn’s name ID is higher, so they argue that means Sasse has more potential to go up.

Of course, no other info, no details, no other numbers, no dates, and certainly no crosstabs.

Then Rasmussen Reports, who we usually look to for decent polling info, came out with this thing:

Leading Republican hopefuls Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse are well ahead of their Democratic opponent in Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race, but Sasse runs stronger among both GOP voters and all voters in the state.

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Nebraska Voters finds Sasse with 52% support, while David Domina picks up 27% of the vote. Five percent (5%) like some other candidate, but a sizable 16% are undecided.

Did someone tell Rasmussen that there is a Republican PRIMARY before they get to the General?
Do they realize that there are FOUR GOP candidates?

Hey Rasmussen, can we get a side of plastic fries with that giant Nothing Burger you just served?

Look, we get that the DC press types love Sasse, but this kind of stuff is insulting.
It is our understanding that the race is very close, and that those 30-30 numbers may very well be accurate.

Then why not just release the damn poll???
When they don’t, it only leads us to believe there is some bad news behind it which they are trying to hide.

Sigh. What’s a political blog to do…


Ben Sasse has a new web-ad up, called “11 Missed Calls“.
See it here:


Speaking of polls, we suppose Congressman Terry’s primary opponent showed why you don’t give up your polling info.
In a release yesterday, they noted that Terry is up 40% to 26% in an automated phone poll.
And they were happy about it.

The Terry peeps pushed back that being behind by double digits in your own poll is usually not something campaigns crow about.


In the Governor’s race, former 3rd District Congressman Tom Osborne endorsed Auditor Mike Foley.

FWIW, you may note that there is no love lost between Foley and Governor Dave Heineman.

Osborne and Heineman? All we know is we always think about the 2006 Gov’s race.


What else in the Gov’s race?

Well, we saw the Bruning ad hitting Ricketts, in the face of the onslaught of anti-Bruning ads.

But is it enough?

We have to imagine that the anti-Bruning stuff will be non-stop. Bruning may have to spend much of his campaign funds defending himself against them — because we don’t see any third parties coming in on his behalf.

If those two are slamming into each other, will that leave space for a third candidate to slip through?


Hey, speaking of Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, did you read the latest story in the local Omaha newspaper about Warren Buffett’s grandson? Because Warren HAS a grandson, and he DOES stuff!

And we certainly cannot get enough news about Warren Buffett’s grandson.

Here is a quote from the paper’s story about the grandson of Warren Buffett (who is Warren’s son’s son):

The Omaha World-Herald is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Did we mention that Warren’s dad used to be a Congressman?


Finally, in the AG race, Brian Buescher was endorsed by Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

And Doug Peterson put out this YouTuber:

Have at it.


40 Days and 40 Nights

April 4, 2014

For the next 40 days it will be like you have walked into a Las Vegas buffet of political ads. (You may need to loosen that belt before it is all over.) Have at it, with the latest… First, this morning, Jon Bruning for Governor hammers back at Pete Ricketts. See it here: This is [...]

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Pulling and Punching

March 31, 2014

When last we left you on Friday afternoon, we were continually updating our latest post after the national conservative PAC Freedomworks switched their endorsement for the Nebraska Senate race from Shane Osborn to Ben Sasse. The follow up on this has been interesting. The original Freedomworks endorsement seemed to have been mainly pushed by Freedomworks [...]

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Who dunnit?

March 28, 2014

**UPDATE at 3:00** Freedomworks is pulling their endorsement of Shane Osborn and switching it to Ben Sasse. This could be a relatively serious blow to Osborn and a boon to Sasse. They say, “At this point, it is clear that Shane Osborn formed allegiances with Mitch McConnell and the K Street lobbying class. For us, [...]

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Memo-gate and attack ads!

March 26, 2014

When we last left off, the Shane Osborn for Senate campaign had taken a blow from the local newspaper for a memo he sent them regarding the Hainan Island incident. The memo was drafted on Navy stationery, but had not gone through official channels. Osborn has now issued the following statement about the memo: As [...]

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March 24, 2014

First, a little March Madness themed Separated at Birth for ya: Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles and Nebraska Regent Hal Daub! (This one worked better in our heads than in the actual photos. But if you see Miles, you can see a little young Hal Daub in his face. Glasses help. Meh…anyway…) *** Sid Dinsdale [...]

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As seen on TV

March 19, 2014

The new spot from Shane Osborn for Senate. See it here: This is an interesting ad, mainly for one reason (to us anyway): This is the first time we had heard or gotten a visual of how the ChiComs held and questioned Osborn. As near as we can remember, few details had been shared about [...]

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