Nebraska’s favorite Democrat is the loser of the 2006 3rd Congressional District election, Scott Kleeb.
Well, enter Tony! Toni! Toné Raimondo! The 67 year old BFF to Ben Nelson just figures this is his lone chance for a grab at the brass ring. He polled and realized that he had no chance against Johanns in the GOP primary (heck it’s questionable whether he could have come within twenty points of Jon Bruning or Hal Daub).
But he figures that while he couldn’t get Republicans to give him a chance against Johanns, he could get Democrats, Republicans and Independents to give him that chance. Why? Well…we have no idea really.
He’s not that well known. While some figure he could or would self-finance a campaign, a’la Pete Ricketts, all indications are that he would only put in around $200,000 to $500,000 max. He’s not exactly well-liked among many Democrats – seeing as he’s been one for a week. He has no idea what the rigors of a statewide campaign are. And he’s not exactly a spring-chicken.
Now here’s an interesting question, going against the above-referenced conventional wisdom on Kleeb: What if Kleeb DOES want to run, but he’s being leaned on to let Raimondo take the reins? Would that mean Ben Nelson is trying to keep a REAL Democrat out of the race? Has Ben Nelson already picked sides in a Democrat primary?
And would state and national Democrats allow a competitive primary to happen?
Dems (and new Dem Raimondo) keep crowing about how Republicans were “forced” out against Johanns. But they really just saw the writing on the wall. They weren’t going to beat Johanns and knew there was no point in losing in the primary.
But what of the Dems? Raimondo vs. Kleeb would be an interesting match, no? It would give Kleeb some recognition, and allow him to actually win something. And would he win? We think he would. But Raimondo would give him a serious fight. It would be an interesting battle. The winner would come out with better name ID against Johanns, no?
But, alas, we’ll probably not see it. This has already been decided in the smoke-filled turkey-hunting cabin along the Platte, right? Right?