Bruning SMACKS Hagel; Hagel SLUGS Bruning

OK, let’s get a few points on the table:

1) Leavenworth Street does not have a dog in the current GOP U.S. Senate fight. Not Chuck Hagel. Not Jon Bruning. Not Mike Johanns, Hal Daub, Kermit Brashear or any other name you want to toss out.

2) We will discuss salient issues. Sometimes those issues appear to criticize one candidate over the other, but that doesn’t mean we have taken sides.

3) We will probably criticize all candidates. We will probably compliment all candidates. We will probably makes jokes about all candidates.

4) You can flail at the messenger if you want, but if you want to defend your candidate, defend him or her by giving a rational argument. Saying that Leavenworth Street is unfair or mean or biased or whatever else pops into your grey matter doesn’t help.

So why do we mention this? Because, if you didn’t know it, IT IS ON.

Bruning has come out with a poll that says he is ahead of Hagel by 9 points, or 24 points if you push the call about Hagel’s “anti-GOP” votes and statements. (Bruning says he leads Hagel by 9 points – LJS – 4/23/07)

See the Poll Questions here.

Hagel’s political director Kevin Chapman responded to Bruning, showing that he is well versed in Bruning’s law school writings and may just know the identity of “R. Reagan at nebraska.conservative@yahoo.com” who recently sent around the Bruning Daily Nebraskan Article.

And so you don’t have to click or search, we’ll print, in full, what Jon Bruning stated today, and then how Chapman responded (thanks to Southwest Nebraska News which generally prints releases in full):

Attorney General Jon Bruning today released statewide poll results showing him leading Senator Chuck Hagel by 9 percentage points in the 2008 Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Bruning leads Senator Hagel by 24 points when Hagel’s criticism of the President and his vote in support of the Democratic leadership’s strict troop withdrawal deadline from Iraq are considered.

“These numbers confirm what I’ve been hearing directly from Republicans as I’ve traveled throughout the state,” Bruning said. “While Republicans have expressed disappointment with Chuck Hagel, they’ve offered me support and encouragement; and for that I am truly honored and grateful.”

The poll also showed Bruning leading Hal Daub 55% to 16% statewide. The poll conducted last week surveyed 404 residents of Nebrask both registered Republican and considered likely to vote in the 2008 Republican primary election for U.S. Senate.

(Bruning Cites Lead over Hagel in Polling; Stops Short of Announcement – Southwest Nebraska News – 4/23/07)

And then from Kevin Chapman, political director for Hagel:

“With his record of credibility, we don’t put much stock in ‘polls’ Jon Bruning pays his pollster to produce. Whatever Jon Bruning claims, Nebraskans will not vote for a chameleon.

“When Bill Clinton was president and the Democrats controlled Congress, Jon Bruning was a card-carrying pro-choice, pro-tax Democrat. After a Republican Congress was elected in 1994, he transformed himself into a pro-life, anti-tax Republican.

“Jon Bruning has repeatedly told people, including Senator Hagel, both publicly and privately that he would support Senator Hagel for re-election or president.

“Records and facts do matter. Senator Hagel has compiled one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate over the last ten years. Last year, Senator Hagel’s voting record was the most supportive of President Bush in the Senate. He has worked with the President on immigration reform, Social Security reform, climate change, and tax and spending issues. It’s laughable that Jon Bruning is claiming to be more Republican than Chuck Hagel.”

(Hagel Comments on Bruning Press Conference – Southwest Nebraska News – 4/23/07.)

If you listen to the full Bruning press conference, you can hear Don Walton ask Bruning about Nebraskans’ views about Iraq and Mike Johanns. Bruning responds that they didn’t poll on war support or about interest in Johanns – but did poll Bruning against Hal Daub, in addition to Hagel.

Bruning also challenges Gov. Dave Heineman about his expressed support of Hagel, questioning whether Heineman supports Hagel’s positions on the war and on the President. So in case you weren’t sure, Bruning is taking both Hagel and Heineman on, head first.

And here are a few questions for you readers:

  • Does this encourage Hagel to run even harder, or if Hagel finds the numbers to be accurate, will he drop out and support someone like Johanns, rather than let Bruning win the seat?
  • Hal Daub has expressed real interest. What does he do? Sit it out for awhile. Express support for Hagel? Run for Mayor of Omaha?
  • And particularly to you Democrats: Assuming that Bob Kerrey will not act on his 1%, what does Mike Fahey do? At what point does he need to make a decision? And if not Fahey, then who?

Remember, all the candidates and offices are reading (and remember what we wrote up above)!

28 comments

  1. Eric says:

    Bruning doesn’t poll about Johanns because he doesn’t think he can beat him.

    Bruning only polls head-to-head match-ups because he doesn’t think he can win a plurality in a 3+ person race (or he doesn’t realize how primaries work in Nebraska). The best thing for Hagel would be for 3 or 4 other candidates to get into the primary.

  2. JoeMerchant24 says:

    I can attest to a few positions Hal Daub has taken.

    Yesterday afternoon, he had the kid-sized sandwich with apples and water at Subway.

    And no, I did not make this up. I did not catch what the missus was having. Mine was too busy saying, “Are you done? Can we go.. NOW!”

    And that’s my contribution to the debate.

  3. Virginia Smith says:

    One thing to keep in mind: Bruning’s consultant and Johanns’ consultant are one in the same. Of course, it is not unheard of for a political consultant to suddenly find himself with 2 clients who want to run in the same race, and it could be that Bruning secured the firm first for this race. Still, if Dresner Wickers thought Johanns was even remotely interested, he is their more senior, longstanding client, and it would be unlikely they would represent Bruning.

  4. THINKamerica says:

    Virginia – Valid point, but Dresner is business like anything else. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Loyal as they may be, they wouldn’t turn down gauranteed cash from Jon Bruning for the chance of getting hired by Johanns.

    Has anyone read the comments on the LJS story? Not very flattering to Bruning.

  5. OmaSteak says:

    As I’ve commented before, Hagel is praying for failure of the surge in Iraq so he thinks he can then capture the GOP presidential nomination. He probably sent Harry Reid a thank you note for his “the war is lost” comment. He’s also evidently keeping his options open “back home”…excuse me while I choke on that…for another senate term. I still maintain that Mayor Landow’s puppet doesn’t want a job where they take attendance…although the idea of shaking down a larger pool of “supporters” shouldn’t be overlooked.

  6. Cousin Eddie says:

    Saying nothing about Jon Bruning himself, It’s unwise to take on both Hagel and Heineman at the same time. While Hagel may be weaker than he has been, Heineman is still very popular in the state and I’m sure he will make Bruning wish he hadn’t been foolish enough to call him out.

    Bruning has made a huge error by declaring the campaign this early and starting the race. Hagel only has to remind the voters of his conservative credentials. Hollywood Jon has a long way to go before he can convince voters to trust anything he does. (Getting on TV for over a week straight doesn’t help that image either)

    Yes, a few Republicans are upset with Hagel but he’s a familiar face that has done nothing (Iraq war excluded) against the state. Hollywood Jon better wise up if he has any real chance in the long run.

  7. Eric says:

    Surprisingly, Bruning actually released some of the documentation on the polling methodology on his website. I find it interesting that

    1) Hagel still has a 52% favorability rating (+16% net favorability). From what I understand it is pretty hard to knock off an incumbent with above 50% favorability.

    2) The poll was split 33%-25%-42% among congressional districts 1, 2, and 3 respectively.

    3) Bruning trails by 9 points in congressional district 1, but the margin for districts 2 and 3 are not disclosed.

  8. right-wing rant says:

    Ditto what Cuz Eddie said. “Bruning has made a huge error by declaring the campaign this early and starting the race.” Poor Jon never saw the cliff ahead. CSI may be needed to ID the body by the time this one’s over.

  9. buck turgidson says:

    Eric,

    It’s hard to beat an imcumbent who receives more than 50 percent in the head-to-head, not the favorability.

    A favorable rating of 50% for a two-term senator in a very red state stinks out loud.

    Ben Nelson is probably at 75% or better.

  10. Cuz Eddie says:

    Here’s another interesting bit. Hagel has been the only Republican to hold a Nebraska Senate seat in 36 years. There was a span of 24 years where NO Republicans held a seat and given past results (Nelson over Ricketts) despite being an extremely red state. Democrats aren’t stupid, and they will nominate a moderate dem and Nebraskans likes moderate senators not neo-con or ultra-lefty.

    I think that if Bruning wins the primary, he might turnoff enough of the moderate republicans to turn towards a moderate democrat – Fahey???
    Hagel’s not destroying the party, but Bruning will.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Hagel is praying for failure of the surge in Iraq …” OmaSteak

    Looks like his prayers have been answered.

  12. One Out In The Third says:

    Hagel has not jumped above 2 percent except in maybe one national poll in the last two years. Even if the surge fails he might gain 2 or 3 points…not enough to even get his foot in the back door at the next Republican Convention.

    In regard to Bruning’s sordid past…even Reagan was a Democrat at one time. Look at milk toast Guiliani…he’s a front running middle of the roader and is light years ahead of Hagel…why? Because he shows strength and resolve.

    For many in Nebraska…Chuck Hagel is synonymous with Harry Reid. As far as Heineman’s endorsement…his stock is fading and will continue to do so. Heineman threatens to do the job but doesn’t quite “git er done.”

    Listen to what people are saying. It doesn’t matter that Hagel might be a strong conservative…his platform on the war is the one of submission…and it is not selling well in Nebraska. He has flopped on immigration as well.

    One final note…If anything pushes me over the edge and turns me into a serial killer…it will be the recent “snap shots” popups. I have tried to disable them and to no avail. Any guidance on how to exterminate this annoying bug would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Tee says:

    When Hagel comes back to the state and begins speaking…it’s over for Bruning. I’d like to see Hagel destroy him in a debate. Hagel does his homework and is so far-sighted, he’d blow Bruning out of the water. When he explains his positions (and doesn’t let the papers explain them for him), he can’t be beat because he’s grounded in reason.

    Bruning is self-interested. Hagel is not. Nebraskans can usually weed through that…if not, we’re in a world of trouble.

    Furthermore, is there any news on how many Democrats/Independents would be willing to jump over to the Republican side to support Chuck in a primary (like we saw in the race for governor)?

  14. Street Sweeper says:

    OOITT – I like the SnapShot popup deal. I think it’s handy to see what site you’re clicking on.
    That being said, I’ll see if we can get some sort of consensus among the readers as to whether or not they’re a good thing.

    I’m not sure how to turn them off for an individual.

  15. snowblwr says:

    One Out in the Third is wrong about Hagel, but correct about the pop-up “snap shots.” Like Matt Connealy, they’re annoying at best.

  16. Street Sweeper says:

    Yes, yes. Ok, the SnapShots is turned off. Now you can all go back to living in caves, eating raw meat and using the US Mail.
    I’ll come by and say hello in my flying car.

  17. One Out In The Third says:

    SS…

    Drive by my cave in a flying car and me and the missus will be throwin’ rocks. We’re pretty good at hitting our target too…we’ve been practicing on the 18-year old down the street that thinks he is a NASCAR intern.

    Thanks for turning off the snap shots. In the world of the cave clan…when we see an interesting link we have Fingus poke on it while the rest of us stand back.

  18. One Out In the The Third. says:

    Looking at the polls…and if Bruning’s poll holds any water…Senator Chuck maybe looking for work come ’08. His strategy to buck the President and turn peacenik is hurting him in the recent “contender” polls. He has become a “-” in the most recent rankings…

    http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08rep.htm

    How did Neil Young sing it? “The “needle” and the damage done…” Seems Hagel’s “needle” has become his stance on the war…among other things.

  19. One Out In The Third says:

    anon…

    No I don’t hang with the Geico “metro” crowd…I am more of an up and coming third world Nebraska cave man…our hovel is just a notch below the Ash Hollow scenic overlook cave south of Lewellen.

  20. Camel's Back says:

    Hagel just voted with the Democrats for a timetable for withdrawl.

    *SNAP*

    That’s the sound of the last straw breaking.

    Senator Hagel and to the his staff who reads this blog:

    You do not represent me and my values and beliefs as a Republican

    I will be voting for change in 2008.

  21. Sidney says:

    All I know is that Chuck Hagel almost ran for governor of Virginia, before he decided he could not win that race. He then decided to come back to nebraska simply to run for office. Hellooooo? Carpet bagger? Duh. This guy is professional Washington, and is hardly a Nebraskan. Hagel has not lived in Nebraska since he was 24 years old.

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