What is Nelson thinking?

Did Ben Nelson screw Mike Fahey’s Senate bid?

We’re wondering what is going on in Columbus these days.

The LJS reports that Tony Raimondo, CEO of Behlen Manufacturing in Columbus has made the decision that if Chuck Hagel does NOT run for re-election, he will run for the REPUBLICAN nomination (Raimondo: I’m running if Hagel isn’t – LJS – 5/10/07).

Now we speculated here on Leavenworth Street recently that it would make more sense for Raimondo to run as a Democrat – seeing as that field is wide open right now, and if Jon Bruning was to defeat Hagel in a primary, he’d be sitting in a good position.

Well, with Raimondo coming out specifically as a Republican, now we’re wondering what the king-maker was doing in all of this. And who is that? Well none other than Senator Ben Nelson, of course. Our sources tell us that it was Nelson who was encouraging Raimondo to make this bid. (And even if our sources aren’t “in the know”, Nelson HAD to be involved in his business associate, political buddy, and jet-provider’s decision.)

So, back to our original question, what was Nellie thinking encouraging Raimondo to do this?

Let’s put it in the worst light first: Hagel doesn’t run. Raimondo runs, along with Bruning, Hal Daub and…say…Kermit Brashear. So while Bruning is the current supposed darling, he has burned bridges with every Hagel supporter. Daub has staunch support, but high negatives as well. Brashear gets another cease and desist order from the Children’s Television Workshop for ripping off their frog. And that leaves Raimondo, who has lots of cash, a successful business career, and a political nomination from President Bush. So let’s just say, for this argument, that he slips in and WINS the GOP nomination.

But then, who is he running against? Mike Fahey, who got in because Hagel dropped out. So now Fahey is running against Raimondo who’s in at the behest of Democrat Ben Nelson, and Raimondo has the tacit endorsement of Nelson – and no way Nelson does any negative ads against Raimondo. So Raimondo wins, and Mike Fahey’s political career is over, all because of Ben Nelson. Hmmm…

Or let’s get a little more dastardly. What else could motivate Nelson to push Raimondo in? Is it so his wealthy friend can get in and bloody-up the GOP primary? A weakened Bruning, if he won the nom, would be a much easier target for a Fahey in the general election. And then Nelson DOES get the credit for the Democrat win.

So maybe Nelson figures it’s a win-win. Either his guy gets the job, or he gets the credit for the Dem win. Either way, it’s all about him.

But ya gotta ask, even if these pseudo-conspiracy theories are outlandish: What was Ben Nelson thinking in pushing Raimondo to run?


  1. Court Jester says:

    Actually, King Maker Ben is theoonewho advised Hagel to have his political nervous breakdown on national television so that this new crop of politicos would be elevated. So no matter who wins, Nelson gets the credit for it because he created the opening for the eventual winner.

    I suspect that kingmaker Ben has as much influence getting people to run as Hagel does of getting them not to run.

  2. Uncle Wiggily says:

    I dunno, Sweeper … I think maybe you’ve been reading too many political thriller mysteries. Wheels within wheels, yadda, yadda ….

    You really think any of these guys, especially Ben Nelson (who has trouble tying his shoes), is smart enough to think through all those permutations?

    You look at Nebraska politics and see plotting and intrigue – I see the Keystone Cops. Maybe we’re both right.


  3. Street Sweeper says:

    We do note at the end that said theories may be outlandish. Nonetheless, Nelson didn’t get where he is by being a complete political neophyte. He knows there are implications in supporting Raimondo. We’re just curious as to what HE thinks they are…

  4. OmaSteak says:

    Couldn’t it be just as simple as Nelson wanting some “payback” against Hagel? Get someone to run against Chuck who has some credibility and can finance a good competitive campaign, enough to score some really tough blows…maybe even a knockout…just for the beating Hagel laid on Nelson when they faced off. Plus a friend elected to the Senate probably would be less likely to participate in efforts to beat up Ben if/when he runs for another term. Or maybe it’s a giant conspiracy to build then corner the “methane from cow patties” market???

  5. Street Sweeper says:

    The “getting back at Hagel” angle would work…if he was going to run against Hagel. But he’s said that he’ll only run if Hagel doesn’t.

    The rest of your comment is a bunch of b.s… (I’ll be here all week ladies and gents! Tip your waitress!)

  6. chris says:

    Although Mr. Raimondo has stated that he won’t run against Hagel, but Brunning also spoke, with his fork tongue, the same words.

  7. Extra Extra read all about it says:


    KETV 10 p.m. news annouces that Hal Daub will hold a press conference on Tuesday a 9:30 a.m. to discuss his politcal future.

  8. cynical richard says:

    Hal Daub is holding a press conference? *YAWN* Really? Would you tell me what happens when *YAWN* I awake from my nap? I can hardly *YAWN* wait.


  9. 'Sker says:

    My visceral reaction to Tony Raimondo’s release in which he indicated Nebraskans may want a businessman was, “Yeah, the way you wanted businessman Pete Ricketts?!” I can’t believe Nelson would feed him that poor a talking point. If Nellie is behind Raimondo, he’s not providing his A-Team advisors…at least not yet.

  10. Mothball says:

    It’s too bad Raimondo and Daub can’t run as a ticket. Their platform: To bring an industrial complex to Lake Ashland. Heck, I’d vote for that.

    Neither guy is politics as usual. They could bring some fresh air into a chamber turned stale by the likes of Byrd, Stevens, Harkin, Feinstein, Levin, etc., etc.

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