First, as we’ve done all week, a Separated at Birth for the 3rd District candidates:
And before we get to our Odds, a little overview of this race:
Many expected the race in this mostly Republican District to be a GOP slam dunk, considering the President’s past electoral success and outgoing Rep. Tom Osborne’s ginormous 80% election successes three times prior. (Even though many forget that then-Speaker of the Legislature Bill Barrett didn’t even hit 52% when he won Virginia Smith’s open seat.)
But after a GOP primary fractured party unity, and a much stronger than anticipated Democrat candidate rose up, it appears this race is drum-tight – mainly as evidenced by all the partisan money raining down on the district and President himself coming to town.
So without further ado, Leavenworth Street gives you…
Adrian Smith (R) and Scott Kleeb (D)
Odds on Winning the 3rd District House race:
Smith – 1:1
Kleeb – 3:1
Over/Under for Smith – 52%
Odds Smith breaks 55% — 9:1
Scott Kleeb has raised plenty of money, come across as thoughtful on the issues, and has sold himself as the populist candidate – not to mention riled up the national Dems who can’t help but constantly mention his Marlboro-man mug. Still, when we handicap this race, some things jump out at us.
Ever since Scott Kleeb got in this race, Democrats in Nebraska and around the country have been acting like a bunch of thirteen year old girls at an N’Sync concert. But when those girls grow-up, they realize they’ve been screaming about Justin-freaking-Timberlake. Similarly, we believe the voters of the 3rd District will realize a few things about Scott Kleeb. Namely:
- He has never held a full-time job in his life. We don’t see HOW this can be ignored; part-time T.A., summer-time horse-rider, full time student. A gas station attendant has more real-life experience than Kleeb.
- He has been a life-long, party-partisan Democrat working for liberal candidates and causes. He worked to elect an ultra-liberal candidate out of Boulder, Colorado – someone the Berkeley, CA of the Rockies wouldn’t even nominate. He headed his campus Democrats in college – about as partisan as you can get. And Kleeb has stated that what motivated him to move to Nebraska to run for Congress was his depression after John Kerry failed to become President.
- Not only is he not from Nebraska – which we all know—he doesn’t even understand some of the basic feelings of Nebraskans. The guy said he was rooting for the Colorado Buffaloes when they play the Huskers for gawd’s sake! And he can root for whatever football team he likes, but if he’s that tone-deaf about one of the extra-curricular passions of the state, it’s clear he’ll never abandon his liberal social principals when it’s time to vote on real issues. (And by the way, enough of the indignation about his family being from Nebraska. His parents are. He’s not.)
- He has clearly staked out his liberal positions. Among others, he’s against repeal of the death tax. He’s for gay-civil-unions. He’s for keeping abortion legal. If these are positions you’re for, great, then Kleeb is your man. However, we have a feeling the majority of 3rd D voters don’t feel this way.
Adrian Smith has not nailed down the large GOP base. The fiercely fought primary may have fractured Republican unity. And when compared to the silver-tongued Kleeb, Smith can come off vanilla and party-line.
But in Adrian Smith, voters know what they’re getting. He’ll vote conservatively. Not sexy for you? How about lower taxes, less government and personal responsibility. The guy was born and raised in Gering, Nebraska, served on their city council and has a record in the legislature. His track record says he votes the sense of his district. It’s fairly certain he would vote that same way in Congress. Smith also owns a small business and works in real estate, which for some reason people have dismissed. Know what it’s like to get your own business up and running? Figure out the tax implications? Traverse all the government regulations? Promote it? Serve your customers? Adrian Smith has done this.
We believe 3rd District voters will look past the belt-buckles and feathered hair. And we don’t discount the party-registration when people actually climb into the voting booth. That’s why Leavenworth Street makes Adrian Smith the Odds on favorite for this race.