Will Raimondo pull a Witek?

Rumors are flying these days about possible U.S. Senate candidate Tony Raimondo. With Hal Daub’s entry confirmed, and the word from Mike Johanns and Bob Kerrey awaited, Raimondo’s name is also tossed around as he’s “preparing” or some such.

But apparently the question for Raimondo isn’t if he’ll run, but for which party’s nomination.

You may have noted that the recent Bruning poll did not include Raimondo’s name. Well, word has it that Raimondo’s internal polling shows him with no chance in a GOP primary. But Raimondo, no spring chicken, definitely wants to make a go of it. And with Bob Kerrey still flittering in the undecided column, Raimondo figures he may have a better shot on that side of the aisle.

Remember that one of Raimondo’s best political friends is none other than Nebraska’s junior Senator, E. Benjamin Nelson. If Bob Kerrey were to win, Nelson would stay as junior Senator – as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised Kerrey that he would keep his seniority built up from his last go-around. Is the prospect of going from juinor to senior enough for Nelson to encourage Raimondo to run?

Well, we can’t imagine that Raimondo would have any kind of a shot against Bob Kerrey. But if Kerrey doesn’t really have the embers in his gut, he might be convinced that Raimondo could carry the torch – especially if it looks like Mike Johanns could win in a rout. This could disappoint Scott Kleeb, but keep in mind that Raimondo has plenty of cash to make himself a decently viable candidate.

Would Democrats rally around Raimondo? Probably about as enthusiastically as they did for Republican/Democrat Auditor candidate Kate Witek. But with Nelson’s backing they may be able to stomach him a little more. Of course this all depends on Kerrey. But God (and possible Ernie Chambers – see below) only knows what he will do.

And what would Raimondo’s exit mean for the Republicans? Well, unfortunately for Hal Daub, it probably lowers his chances. Daub needs to peel off more votes from Bruning or Johanns, and Raimondo could help with that. If he doesn’t get in, it makes Daub’s job that much tougher.

***

State Senator Ernie Chambers has made national news (again), this time for suing God. There are abundant jokes to be made here – How will he serve Him? Will He be defended by St. Peter, or Johnnie Cochran? Will He put his hand on the Bible, or will the Bible simply be entered into evidence?

But the most comical thing of all is the AP “file photo” from Nati Harnik that the Omaha World Herald decided to run with the story (right). Now THAT’s some comedy…

***

If you missed Chuck Hagel on the Today Show last Friday, you can re-watch the interview with Meredith Vieria here. And really, the only reason we mention this is Chuck’s response to Vieria’s pushing him about running, right around the 3:28 mark. It went like this:

VIEIRA: Why quit now given how impassioned you are about this war?
HAGEL: Well, I’m not quitting anything. I’m announcing…
VIEIRA: Well, you’re not running.
HAGEL: Well, that doesn’t mean quitting, dear.

And then when Vieria threw it to anchor Ann Curry, she got this:

VIEIRA: And now let’s get the rest of the morning’s stop stories from Ann Curry at the newsdesk. Ann, good morning to you.
CURRY:Meredith, thanks. Good morning, dear. Good morning.
VIEIRA: Yeah.

6 comments

  1. curbfeeler says:

    We heard it said that Daub takes votes from Bruning. That’s not true. Young Bruning borrowed votes from Daub’s base, many of whom would open a vein for Daub.

    We also heard it said that Daub needs to peel off more votes from Bruning or Johanns. Perhaps not. Jon needs to beat up Mike. That will lower Jon and Mike in voters’ eyes. If Hal can remain above the fray, Hal benefits.

    This race isn’t just a comparison of previous offices held by candidates. Daub comes to this as a never-was-a-Democrat military veteran. That carries some credibility in a GOP Primary.

  2. Jon Rehm says:

    Raimondo as a Dem? That’s intriguing. Raimondo might be alienated from the GOP after Ricketts attacked Nelson’s ties to Behlen Manufacturing last fall. If Ben Nelson is in fact recruiting Raimondo to switch, I doubt it’s out of any animosity towards Bob Kerrey. Kerrey and Nelson share the same campaign manager and Nelson and Kerrey have always supported each other. I think Nelson is just concerned with having a halfway credible candidate to run if Kerrey doesn’t. Fahey and Kleeb both are credible, but they might not want to run for Senate. Fahey might want to stay Mayor and Kleeb might be stick with the 3rd district or might just be cooling his heels for a couple of years. Ben might know something about Fahey’s and Kleeb’s intentions that we don’t. He’s likely in a better position to know.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If Ben and Bob are so in love with each other why did Ben endorse Clinton for president when Bob was running? Nelson endorsed Clinton in the fall of 1991 prior to any primaries over fellow Nebraskan, Bob Kerrey. It was our senior Senator Hagel that was a big Kerrey for Presidential supporter.

  4. Jon Rehm says:

    You’re probably right about Nelson endorsing Clinton. All I can say to that is Nelson backed the right horse.

    When Kerrey was head of the Democratic Senate Committee in 1996 he backed Ben Nelson over Bill Hoppner for Exon’s seat. That was a bold move by Kerrey because a lot of the liberal base of the Democratic party thought Hoppner deserved to be Governor. You probably recall how close the Democratic gubernatorial primary was in 1990. I think Kerrey and Nelson have bridged whatever animosity they might have had. I’ve been around Democratic politics in this state for 10 years and I’ve never heard of bad blood between Bob and Ben.

    Ben has also been laying the lumber to Johanns over his role at the USDA. That benefits Kerrey. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nelson plays the role of the attack dog in this campaign while Kerrey tries to stay above the fray.

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