Leavenworth Street doesn’t extend to the 3rd Distrtict (yet), but we’ve been following this race nonetheless. For the first time in eight years, voters in the 3rd District have to choose someone beside the Ol Coach and the open seat has brought on three legitimate Republican candidates vying for the nomination. Who are these guys? Oh right: David Letterman, Chris Penn and the Fisher Price kid. A/k/a: Jay Vavricek, John Hanson and Adrian Smith.
Early on, the odds appeared to be with Vavricek. He has the money (personal wealth) and a base consisting of the largest city in the third. But Vav’s campaign never seemed to catch on. He hasn’t spent the big bucks for media, and in a district of this size, getting your name out to all corners takes spending more than just a few.
John Hanson comes in with strong credentials, great knowledge of the District, and connections with the powerbrokers of the third district — all courtesy of his time spent as Tom Osborne’s Ag guy. That alone gives him credibility. We’ve heard he’s knowledgeable on the issues, which gives him even more credibility. But he’s lacked the aggressive campaign and fundraising needed to win this race.
Adrian Smith has raised the money and run a good, aggressive campaign. Also, as a State Senator, he has the legislative cred that will lead people to believe that he can do the same in Washington. People know who he is, and he has clearly brandished his conservative credentials. He is a hit among social conservatives (and they vote in the primaries). The only thing holding Adrian back is his youth, and that he focuses too much on the social conservative issues, at times alienating the farm and business vote.
Adrian is our pick to win this tight race, with Hanson as the dark horse. His established name ID will carry him to victory on Tuesday. (However, if/when Adrian does pull it out, there’s a chance we could be looking at an interesting General election battle…)
Come back to Leavenworth Street in an hour when we will tell you who will win the GOP Governor’s primary.