New polls in #NEGOV & #NESEN

by Street Sweeper on April 23, 2014

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Scotts Bluff Nat MonNew poll up by “The Legacy Foundation” for Nebraska statewide races:


Ricketts 26.3%
Bruning 17.8%
Foley 13.2%
McCoy 9.8%
Carlson 4.6%
Slone 4%
Undecided 23.7%

Still lots of Undecideds to put someone over the top.


Osborn 31.2%
Sasse 30.9%
Dinsdale 12.4%
McLeay 2.2%
Undecided 23.3%

A tie at the top.

But, FWIW, check out the title on this website URL:

They also note:

The Legacy Foundation Action Fund is supporting Ben Sasse for U.S. Senate. He‘ll bring conservative Nebraska values to Washington.

Legacy says, about the poll:

The poll surveyed 502 likely Republican voters across Nebraska.
It has a MoE +/- 4.37%


Who hates negative ads?

by Street Sweeper on April 23, 2014

AFF adPete Ricketts and his backers for Governor went after Jon Bruning at the State Capitol yesterday.

And we are still scratching our heads.

Ricketts, along with former Governor Kay Orr, and then later with former CD-3 Congressman Bill Barrett criticized Bruning for his negative ads against Ricketts.

You got that?
Ricketts is mad a Bruning for the anti-Ricketts ads.

Now, this may come as a shock to those of you who own a television.

Because you have seen the tsunami of anti-BRUNING ads over and over and over and over and over again.

So, if Kay Orr and Bill Barrett are really that outraged about negative ads, you’d think they’d have a problem with the anti-Bruning ads, yeah?

Well, no. Not so much.

They don’t like Bruning’s anti-Ricketts ads because Bruning actually put his name on them, and well, they’ve endorsed Ricketts.

And once again, Pete denies ANY involvement, from his campaing OR his family, with the negative ads against Bruning.

Look…of all the protesting coming from camp-Bruning, we thought this one really summed it up:

With Joe Ricketts history of funding negative attacks against Jon Bruning in the 2012 Senate campaign, does anyone think he is simply going to sit this race out with Pete on the ballot?

Well, of course not.

Then again, do voters really care who is funding the ads?
Or do they just let osmosis do its thing and let the message seep into their brains?

It is our guess that at tonight’s Governor’s debate, Ricketts WILL denounce the independent expenditure ads. And will call for them to be taken down — but point out that he doesn’t have the power for that to happen.

Oh an by the way, no one watches these debates.
So Candidates, if you’re hoping to make some news, you better MAKE some news.


In case you missed it, the Club for Growth has a new anti-Osborn ad out.
See it here:

However, immediately on the heels of this ad, out came Auditor Mike Foley to correct what this ad claims.

Foley said,

“I worked closely with Shane Osborn when he was Nebraska’s State Treasurer. He served both his office and Nebraska taxpayers well by cutting budgets, eliminating waste and implementing transparency in government.”

And then GOP Chairman J.L. Spray noted in his weekly newsletter:

I know there is at least one advertisement touting the endorsement of a former chairman of the NEGOP; it is not however an endorsement by your state party.

This would be referencing Mark Fahleson, quoted in the CfG ad, who was one of the first Ben Sasse supporters.

Now all this is fine and good, but unless Osborn turns the Foley quote into a TV ad, ain’t no one gonna know about it…


Congressman Lee Terry has a new ad out called “Stop Them“.
See it here:


The Sioux City Journal noted yesterday that Governor Dave Heineman still may endorse someone in the Governor’s race.

If we were gambling on this, we would still put our money on either Bryan Slone or Beau McCoy. But Governor Dave may also pull back if he sees info that other candidates have a better path to victory.

In any case, if he does endorse, that will be a significant shake up in that race.

In the mean time, Pete Ricketts was endorsed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and by Brian Bresnahan in an editorial in the York News Times (“All the Fits that Print the News!“)

**The York News Times editorial board itself has endorsed Jon Bruning.**

Jon Bruning was endorsed by the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police.

Over in the Senate race, Ben Sasse was also endorsed by Ted Cruz, who will take part in Sasse’s North Platte rally on Friday.

Shane Osborn was endorsed by a group of Nebraska Conservatives:
Nebraska Republican Liberty Caucus President Laura Ebke, Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom President Doug Kagan, Nebraska Conservative Leader DeeDee Kelly, Western Nebraska Taxpayers Association Chairman Mike Groene and Omaha Liberty Ladies President Sheila Heieck.


We will do our best to live-Tweet the Governor’s debate tonight (but we make no promises).

In any case, if you’re Twittering, please use #NEGOVdebate, so everyone can follow along.

Starts at 7:00PM CDT and lasts 90 excruciating minutes.
Watch online at


Crucial campaign issue finally addressed

by Street Sweeper on April 21, 2014

New ads up over the weekend.

First from Sid Dinsdale for Senate, entitled “In Your Face“.
See it here:

Is this the first original ad of the season that didn’t focus on ObamaCare? We like this ad on Dinsdale’s theme of government overreach, but we sort of figured he was stamping his face on an ad that was nationally produced, and would be seen in any or every state.

We found out instead that this was produced in Nebraska, and the Dinsdale team has the outtakes — with them throwing the “regulation” papers in front of a fan — to prove it.

Will something need to “happen” for Dinsdale to slip in there between Osborn and Sasse? Dinsdale continues to point out that 80% of his cash comes from Nebraska, and that he has only looked for Nebraska endorsements (such as Tom Osborn).

At this point we doubt that Dinsdale will be outspent on TV anyway. Expect to hear Dinsdale’s voice and the flapping of government regs over and over of the next few weeks.


Pete Ricketts has a new ad up called, “Real World Conservative“.
See it here:

The big takeaway from this spot is Ricketts’ declaration in the middle:

“I’m not behind any negative attack ads.
And I don’t support amnesty. Never have, never will.”

Well then.

This gets back to what it means for “him” to be behind the avalanche of ads attacking Jon Bruning.

Someone figured out that Pete’s dad, gazillionaire Joe Ricketts, did not specifically pay for the attack ads put out by the Independent Expenditure group.

But Politico also pointed out the Billionaire’s Club which is buying attack ads for each other, so as to keep plausible deniability.

So is Pete himself walking down to the TV station and cutting a check for the ads?

But is that all it takes for not being “behind” an ad?

Look, you can criticize Bruning and McCoy and Osborn for having IE spots, or their own negative ads up. But at least they are owning up to them.

Turning around and having an IE on your behalf, while you claim a “clean” campaign, is a joke.

We aren’t sure how much people buy this.


Then there’s Pete’s amnesty statement.

This must be a nuanced thing, because Ricketts has clearly stated he supports some sort of illegal alien residency proposal.

The easiest on this we found was when we explored the issue back in January, and pointed out this from the 2006 Governor’s campaign:

Immigration: Do you support some type of program that would allow immigrants currently here illegal to gain legal status?” David Kramer: “Yes” Pete Ricketts: “Yes” Don Stenberg: “No” [Omaha World Herald, 5/2/06]

Is this just pure nuance for Ricketts, much like the negative ad denial?

We don’t know any other way to look at it.

But, when you bombard this ad across Nebraska a few $100,000 times, it may just stick.


The local fishwrap had an interesting Sunday FRONT PAGE story about Charles Herbster, addressing the aforementioned CRUCIAL campaign issues:

  • a Nebraskan who has a number of speeding tickets, yet has the gall to support a candidate for Governor.
  • no wait, it was  a guy who was behind on his taxes, got 100% up to date on them 2 years ago, and THEN decided to support someone for Governor.
  • hold on, it was how unseemly it is to pour millions of dollars into one candidate who isn’t you — but only if you don’t have your company’s name on a local baseball stadium.

As Don Walton points out in the other newspaper, the undecideds are rapidly reviewing other options in the Governor’s race. So expect the other campaigns — say, one which has massive, massive spending all based on ONE man’s billions of dollars — to start attacking the Beau McCoys and Bryan Slones and Mike Foleys.

Because you assumed the Governor’s race is all based on how many speeding tickets one campaign’s donor has.


(You want to know why we started a political blog? To respond to stuff like this.)


Speaking of McCoy, it seems that Democrats are fired up about his recent anti ObamaCare ad.

They are offended that McCoy would not show greater respect to a plastic toy that represents ObamaCare.

They also noted that if the plastic toy likes it’s fence post, it can keep it’s fence post.

McCoy flicked away that idea.


BTW, we have heard that Texas Senator Ted Cruz is coming in for the Pete Ricketts campaign.

No details.


We saw a couple of new Tom Carlson for Governor ads while watching Forrest Gump over and over this weekend.
See “Making the good life even betterhere:

And if this one doesn’t electrify you, there is another that is also running, that’s not on the YouTube, so we can’t show you.

Just keep watching Forrest and you might catch it.


For your interest, Jay Nordinger of National Review is crossing Nebraska for a story on the Keystone XL pipeline, and begins by giving his assessment of flatness, small towns and the pronunciation of Beatrice.

With all the rest of the “gee Nebraska is nice” stuff, he adds that the opponent of his guy, Ben Sasse, ran a commercial that was “dirty, low and dishonest”.

Is he referring to the one where Osborn says Sasse worked in DC?

We get that the camps disagree about the “honesty” of the “decade” part, but that makes it dirty and low? And Nordinger comes from a political magazine??

We await the Cheese Runza assessment.


Bruning takes another cut at Ricketts

by Street Sweeper on April 18, 2014

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

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 [...]

Read the full article →

Getting weird in #NESEN

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 [...]

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Let the ads take over

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

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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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