How the West Will Be Won — 3rd District Odds

First, as we’ve done all week, a Separated at Birth for the 3rd District candidates:

Adrian Smith and Will Ferrell

Scott Kleeb and Jake Gyllenhaal

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

Our Analysis:

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.

19 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great analysis. to follow on Randy Quaid…

    Hey SS, could you know, maybe spare a little? You know, a little extra cash?

    Sure Eddie, how much do you need?

    Ohh, about $52,000.

  2. Anonymous says:

    From your analysis, this race shouldn’t even be close.

    Kleeb’s baggage and the fact that this is one of the most conservative districts in America is something that should be impossible to overcome.

    I guess it’s a testament to the campaign Kleeb has run, the current political environment, and also maybe that Smith is an bad candidate (or running a bad campaign).

  3. Street Sweeper says:

    No, I think we point out what voters may be ignoring. But in any case, we point back to the ’90 Bill Barrett race to see how close open seat races in the 3rd can be, no matter who the candidates are.

  4. Kyle Michaelis says:

    SS-

    Got to hand it to you. You remain the far superior Republican tool than I am as a Democrat. Adrian Smith’s campaign is a joke. His record in the legislature is one of incompetence and triviality that, as the World-Herald recognized, shows no indication of the leadership and vision the Third District needs in Congress.

    But, way to do what you could with bad facts to make what little argument could be made on Smith’s behalf. I hope you get a Christmas bonus for this one.

    You are right about voters knowing what they’ll get with Adrian Smith. That’s precisely why he’s going to lose. The Third District deserves better. Rather than electing a bad candidate just because he’s a Republican, voters are going to give Kleeb, the common sense moderate, a chance.

    Kleeb will have 2 years to prove himself and to start fulfilling that boundless potential. I’ve got a good feeling that Nebraska – and the nation – will like what it sees.

  5. Street Sweeper says:

    “Moderate.” “Independent.” What is with you Democrats from shying away from what you are? Kleeb is a genuine liberal Democrat, has worked for liberal Democrats, has led liberal Democrats and would vote like a liberal Democrat if you, Rahm Emanuel and the rest of the national liberal Democrat party organization get your way. I don’t know why you hide from that.

    Yeah and you’re right about Kleeb’s “boundless potential”, since he has a record of doing pretty much nothing, ANYTHING is a step up. I guess in Kleeb’s view that IS a “bad fact”.

    (And btw Kyle, I’M not beholden to any party or anyone else — unlike YOU, Mr. NDP voting member.)

  6. Out in the Third says:

    I was beginning to think Kleeb was closing in after his own “push poll” hit the streets. Then Chuck Sigerson’s post the other day slapped me back into reality. I also did a little research on the New York group his camp hired. Seems Kleeb is the only one using this group when you look at the long list of polls being conducted across the country. Their history and list of clientele also appear…how shall I say this? “Questionable.”

    I gotta give Kyle and his cronies a bit of credit though..they really hit this year hard and are well organized. So much that I think the majority of voters out here in the 3rd have beccome sickened by their bombardment and the facade Kleeb has put up. From what I’ve been hearing I think that “Thirdies” are insulted to think that “they” think we would fall for their Politician/Cowpoke hook…line and sinker.

    From the general consensus of what I have been hearing on the street…I think conservatively…your prediction is very close.

    My daughter in Lincoln…the one with perfect judgment…said it best…”I’ve seen a thousand like him…he’s got greasy written all over.”

    Come Nov. 8th…Kleeb will be able to pack his bags and head back to Yale. He will have a nice paragraph for his resume’…and can tell the folks there how much he loves New Haven and how it is his true home.

    Maybe he can get back with his girlfriend too. I nominate her for “Smartest Woman of the Year.” She didn’t want to spend a year in the back of his pickup. She evidently didn’t share his vision.

  7. Street Sweeper says:

    On the point of the poll, I’ll put this in as well: Seeing as they gave no further info, one can’t say for certainty, but it does not look like the poll was weighted properly (and I’ll say up front, that I’m no expert on polls). But the numbers indicated X amt of GOP support for each candidate, but those numbers don’t equate with the overall numbers, as to the actual party make-up of the district.

    So with a back-of-the-envelope analysis, I found that Kleeb’s poll actually had Smith up by 2%, with a 4% error margin.

    So, that would indicate what all the money and pols coming in are telling us: the race is very close.

    Thanks for your 3rd D perspective!

  8. mom at home says:

    Okay, SS, again with the actors that I’m too old to know who they are. I get the Adrian Smith SAB. Will Ferrel is well known and another SNL guy. I guess you know where I am on most Saturday Nights. Who is the other guy. He kind of resembles the Marlboro Man of my youth, but that would be a bit of a redo since the R’s have been calling Scottie Boy that for months.

    Who is he???

  9. Everything Happens for a Reason says:

    I would agree with boy band line of thought, except the third district will wake up and realize they were screaming for n’sync’s Lance Bass, not even Justin.

  10. Anonymous says:

    To those who think that Kleeb will “vote like a liberal,” please direct your attention to Stephanie Herseth. The partisans made all the same arguments about her, and she now will win with nearly 70% of the vote.

  11. Street Sweeper says:

    Except that Herseth got elected on her name (dad was Gov), is actually FROM South Dakota, and comes from a state that elected Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson.

    Ask yourself why Scott Kleeb refused to answer the Right to Life questionnaire.

  12. mom at home says:

    FYI, none of the Democrat Congressional candidates in NE answered the Family Values candidate survey, either. Ben did, even though R’s don’t agree with many of his answers, he at least answered the survey. If you vote Democrat in this election, you will get a bunch of people that are afraid of telling the voters (and probably their families and ministers) where they really stand on traditional family value subjects. I encourage everyone to vote informed and if you have to, do a little research to get informed before going to the polls. If what’s in your mailbox can’t be substantiated by a legitimate source, or is contrary to previous knowledge, it should be considered suspect.

    Good luck in the ballot booth!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Actually, Herseth’s father was not elected governor. He was a state legislator. Her grandfather was governor a million years ago, but I won’t disagree that her family name helped.

    But you sort of side stepped the issue. Herseth is a liberal who went to an ivy league school and worked and lived in DC for something like 10 years.

    When she ran for congress in 2002, they called her a carpet bagger, accused her of being a liberal, and said she wasn’t really “from South Dakota” but just came “home” to run for Congress. And she came points away from beating a beloved four-term governor.

    When she did win the special and 2004 elections, they tried similar arguments.

    People still suggest she is going to switch up and start voting “liberal.”

    But the reality is that she has been pretty moderate and consistent with SD voters on most everything (except maybe abortion).

    So, to suggest that Kleeb is some raging liberal is sort of funny.

    I hope he gets elected just to see what you all say after two years of his voting more conservatively than Ben Nelson.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh yea, one more thing. Herseth actually got elected in the state that gave Daschel the boot because he was actually liberal. Compared to Daschle, Herseth and Johnson are regular DINOs.

  15. Street Sweeper says:

    You Democrats just can’t stop, can you? Let’s spell it out for you: when you caucus with the Democrats, vote for them as leaders, and vote with them more than 50% of the time, you’re a DEMOCRAT. You ain’t a Republican. Don’t give me this, “Well, he/she is only liberal on a FEW issues…” Sell it to your grandmother who thinks the Dems still look like Harry Truman. When you’re more with Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangle than you are with Dennis Hastert and John Boehner, then you’re a Democrat. Kleeb won’t be voting with the Republicans, and those of us who can see through Kleeb’s belt buckles know it.

    And Herseth. Last time I checked she actually LIVED in SD for a while.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Okay, just one more and I’ll let it go: You said “Kleeb is a genuine liberal Democrat.”

    I think you will be surprised at how he will vote. I didn’t say he won’t caucus with the Dems. I didn’t say he isn’t a Dem.

    But take a look at Jim Marshall, Stephanie Herseth, or any other NRA endorsed Dem and tell me they are your typical coastal “liberal.”

    All I’m saying is I think you’ll be hard pressed to make the same argument against him in 2008. G’night.

  17. Street Sweeper says:

    And before anyone else jumps on that bandwagon: Kleeb was NOT endorsed by the NRA. He filled out a questionnaire from the NRA, and based on that ALONE, he received his rating from them.

    And as we noted before, he refused to fill out such a questionnaire from Nebraska Right to Life.

    But that’s the point: you don’t know HOW Kleeb would vote. You’ve seen how Adrian Smith votes, and he votes the sense of the District. Kleeb’s “record” shows him running with ultra-liberal candidates in Colorado and vacillating on gay-marriage and abortion. When he decided to move to Nebraska for the open House seat his record didn’t go “poof”. No one knows WHAT this guy believes in.

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