Don Walton reports today in the Lincoln Journal Star about a poll which shows Attorney General Jon Bruning in the lead for the 2008 GOP Senate nomination (Bruning leads poll if Hagel doesn’t run – LJS – 1/10/07).
But, as Don notes, who is the one 500 pound gorilla, not mentioned in the poll, that could really stop Bruning in his tracks? Mike Johanns. (And we hear whispers that the Ag Secretary is interested.)
A few things about the poll:
1) It was paid for by Omaha Poobah and chairman and CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, David Sokol, who was Bruning’s 2002 campaign finance chairman.
2) The polls questions are unknown, so one never knows what sort of road the poll-ee was led down.
3) It seems that the poll questioned voters about head-to-head match-ups between Bruning and other considered nominees (see below). An interesting way of framing the race, and probably an interesting way to potentially get the highest numbers for Bruning. (Do you think this poll would have seen the light of day if it wasn’t positive for Bruning?)
Now note that, of course, this poll is assuming that Chuck Hagel does not run for re-election in 2008 (as reported by KMTV’s Joe Jordan). But note that Bruning says:
“I think he’s a fantastic senator,” Bruning said Tuesday. “If he does want to seek re-election, I want to be among the first to endorse and support him.”
This would seem like Bruning is saying he would not make a primary challenge to Hagel, right? But we’re guessing that when Bruning says he wants to be among the first to support him, an out (if Hagel does run) will be to say, “I wanted to support him, but – darn it – I just can’t.”
Another interesting note was that Don Walton threw Kermit Brashear in as another interested in running in 2008. But heck, why stop there? Let’s throw in Nancy Hoch and Jan Stoney as well.
Here is the breakdown of the poll, from Don’s article (and once again, if you want to know what’s going on in Nebraska politics, Don’s your man):
Bruning – 52%
Daub – 20%
Bruning – 54 %
Ricketts – 24%
Bruning – 38%
Terry – 22%
Bruning – 40%
Fortenberry – 20%
Bruning – 36%
Ricketts – 21%
Daub – 16% (in a three-way)
We’ll assume that in each of these cases, the question was asked about a two-man race, and the balance was “undecided”. Interesting that Lee Terry and Jeff Fortenberry both dramatically dropped Bruning’s numbers (as opposed to Ricketts or Daub). And we also may be close to adding Fortenberry to our list of potential 2008 candidates. You can guarantee that he would be a formidable opponent to Bruning. (And we also may be looking to subtract Terry from the 2008 Senate race, as he seems to be successfully climbing up the GOP hierarchy in the House.)
Polls like this keep our political juices flowing during the winter doldrums…