Kay Orr for Senate?

Well this one had us spitting coffee this early morning.

Chris Cilliza of the Washington Post blog, The Fix, says that former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr has been approached to run for Senate in 2012.

And her reaction?

“I can’t see any set of circumstances that would persuade me to get in there again,” Orr said. “I’m flattered that I’ve had some people suggest that I do so. They think it would be an interesting rematch.”

Asked whether that meant she was ruling out a challenge to Nelson, Orr said with a laugh: “Is that what I just said?

So coy!

OK, look, Orr would be 73 in 2012. We are not saying that disqualifies her or anything, but it is not like she has been heavily involved in the political scene since her defeat to Ben Nelson…TWENTY years ago. We have no doubt Orr is flattered, but we aren’t going to get riled up just yet.

Then again, Ben Nelson ain’t exactly a Spring chicken either. So maybe they could re-match up.

The thing is here, there are apparently people going around trying to find alternatives to Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg.

We heard the name of Rex Fisher sort of out of nowhere. And now Orr.

And then in another story, The Fix quoted David Kramer saying:

“There are people that are hoping that a candidate captivates them more than Jon does.”

Is another big name GOPer needed in this race? We probably haven’t heard the last of the names being thrown around.


And as long as The Fix is keeping busy, note that Don Stenberg Tweeted (well, he tried anyway) The Fix story that said he is “absolutely” in.

Announcement by Twitter?


And as long as we’re filling space, you can follow our Twitter feed here.


  1. Doug P says:

    Geez, why don't we add John De Camp to the potential candidates?

    Kay Orr is so Eighties (referring to the decade, not her age – yet).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Who better to take on Ben Nelson than the candidate who knows him better than any other? Kay Orr is a sharp, wise candidate who could easily defeat not only the other primary candidates, but also Ben Nelson himself.

  3. Doug P says:

    10:08, the day is young but you already won "densest comment of the day." Who better to take on Nelson than someone who's a) been out of politics for 20 years, b) was dumb enough to embrace nuclear dumps for Nebraska, and c) ALREADY LOST TO NELSON!!!

  4. Anonymous says:


    David Kramer
    Don Stenberg
    Kay Orr?

    Who the hell are these people other than old has beens? Real classy of stenberg as well. He hasn't been been sworn into his new office that he destroyed fulton for.

    You stay classy Don.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Kay Orr might be able to knock off Nelson but getting through a primary is no foregone conclusion. She has no organization in place and hasn't been doing fundraising to build up a war chest. She ain't runnin'.

    I don't get what some people's big problem is with John Bruning. So he's ambitious. How many guys get elected to the Senate without having held an elected office previously? For Pete Rickets, it was a liability.

    Right now, I'd take Bruning over Stenberg and certainly over Kramer. I don't think Fortenberry will oppose Bruning and will continue to run for (and hold) the 1st CD seat. Kermit Brashear? Mike Flood? Kramer might not get excited about Bruning but he's a whole lot more appealing than 6 more years of Ben Nelson.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To Anonymous 10:21 AM: Why would you put RINO Ashford in there with the other Republicans? In a Republican Primary, Ashford could not beat any of the others listed!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just wait until Bruning gets into a real campaign, when opposition research begins, don't you think they will start talking to former staffers? Not fired ones, the ones who left after less than a year because he was a tyrant? How about the political opportunism in some of his pursuits as AG? Yeah, I think we can do better, much better.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good to see the Dem trolls out in force today! Must be scared at the prospect of a 71 year-old lady running for Senate. Reminder: Ben's that old too!

    Kay Orr's structure from 20 years ago still partially exists. Many of the people from her days are still around. Would be interesting to see if there's grassroots response.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There are people going around trying to find alternatives to Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg?

    If there really is a God, their search will be successful.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, but what of Kay Orr's political organization from 20 years ago would still be around today. She's a great lady and served this state well, and I'm not going to knock her. But I will question anyone who claims that her organization is, in any meaningful way, intact.

    And keep in mind that campaigning has changed with technology over the last decade. Could she do it? Could she get back into it after being away so long? Perhaps. But Kay Orr is more of a power broker nowadays. Not the candidate. You want to run for office as a Republican in this state? Sit down with Kay and if she likes you, she can introduce you to the people with money. And I frankly thinks she likes that role.

  11. Anonymous says:

    See how she responded in the article? Kay Orr is still quite sharp. And should she decide to run she is immediately credible. Why you ask? The young'uns on this thread need to remember a large number of GOP Primary voters are her age.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Politicos on the outside of the Brunning camp are really desperate. Can't you make a buck of a few state senate races in 2012?

  13. Walt says:

    My guess (I have only heard rumor around the Capital) is that Senator Lautenbaugh won't be running because he will be lobbying for Philip Morris in 2012.

  14. The Ideal Candidate says:

    The fact that Gov Orr’s comments indicate that she hasn’t really been thinking about running and doesn’t appear to have a deep desire to be a U.S. Senator are precisely why she would make a great candidate.

    It makes your average voter a bit leery when over 1.5 years from a primary you have candidates lined up to run whom you have no doubt have had dreams of ‘sugar plums and senate offices dancing in their heads’ for years. It also makes one a bit suspicious of A) their motivation for wanting the job and B) how effective they will be at their CURRENT job between now and then.

  15. Doug P says:

    OK, Ideal Candidate, YOURS might be the "densest comment of the day." By your standards,there are approximately 1.7 million candidates for U.S. Senate in Nebraska.

    If she hasn't been thinking about it and doesn't have a deep desire, who is going to donate money to that kind of campaign? This isn't a charity – donors give to those who have a desire to win.

  16. Get a Clue says:

    Doug P,

    Your attempt at satire is as keen as your knowledge of politics (Senators must be 30 yrs old so the entire population isn’t eligible).

    There is a difference between someone having a DESIRE for a particular office and a WILLINGNESS to step forward and serve.

    By YOUR assertion on how fundraising works, liberals in this state would be amassing huge campaign war chests and hold every constitutional office.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Street Sweeper said…
    Are your statements factual?

    This has got to be the funniest thing I've read this week. If "factuality" was required to post, 90% of your posters would be banned!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sen Deb Fischer is seriously considering the office. Now that my friends should put a shiver in the rest of the field.

    I would think the AG would find her to be a very able opponent.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Kay Orr? John DeCamp? Does this mean Reagan is still president? Was it all just a dream? It was? What a relief!

    Omaha Independent

  20. Street Sweeper says:

    Gee, you could always CLICK THE LINK that mentions him. Or you could be lazy, and be told that he used to be State GOP Chair. And he ran for Senate and eventually lost in the primary to Ricketts in 2006. But figuring that out would have meant typing "David Kramer" in the search engine in the upper left corner and seeing all the posts that mention him.

    (i.e, you're killin' me here…)

  21. Doug P says:

    Get a clue, Get a Clue. There's a difference between satire and sarcasm. As in you're a freakin' political savant for thinking liberals could EVER amass a war chest in Nebraska.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Kramer used to be the head of the NE GOP and ran for Senate against…Stenberg, Ricketts and a host of other players. Successfully ran several other issue campaigns for OPS and I believe construction of the Qwest Center…not sure. Positive focused, down to earth and well organized guy. Lawyer at Baird Holms in Omaha. Don't hold that against him.

  23. Anonymous says:

    With all the excitment bursting out all over the state with the prospect of Kay Orr running I thought I may as well make another suggestion that will for sure raise the roof off of this joint;


    think about
    feel the excitment!

  24. Anonymous says:

    YES!!!! I would completely back Governor Kay Orr for the US Senate. She was probably one of the best governors this state has ever had. We are still reaping the benefits of LB 775. She presided over one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. This lady gets it, and I hope she runs.

  25. R Moody says:

    I'm sure she appreciates your completely anonymous support. Funny she couldn't get reelected in a red state for being that great.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Where's the love? This woman lost to Ben Nelson in 1990 because of a blizzard in the 3rd District–not because she wasn't electable. As 10:08 AM mentioned, she has more experience running against Nelson than anyone else (except for Stenberg… but he's already proven that he's not going to win it). She'd have my vote over the politically untested Bruning and the hapless Stenberg.

  27. TexasAnnie says:

    I was reading along through the comments wondering when anyone was going to bring up LB775, Anonymous at 8:02 pm.

    In this sense, Kay Orr's "organization" truly is still in tact in Nebraska as someone else commented. That is to say: corporate Nebraska controls all things political!

    But it is false to say Nebraskans are "still reaping the benefits of LB775." No benefits were to be attained for about thirty years AFTER the tax advantages were granted. And since the original LB775 was passed in 1989, Kay Orr's "organization" has gained ever greater control via passage of many similar tax incentives extending even to Nebraska's farmers and ethanol producers (who were otherwise being subsidized by both Nebraska and federal income taxpayers).

    Even if LB775 and all those bills spawned after it's initiation, (after all, if Peter isn't required to pay his taxes, then Paul has a legitimate complaint about paying his!) —even IF LB775 had grown Nebraska's economy rather than siphon it's tax revenue, why does anyone believe it is okay to create inequitable tax laws?

    Our family was unlucky in that we were caught up in the early LB775 mania. We were brought to Nebraska, literally (see legislative debate surrounding this bill) to shore up the tax base which LB775 gave away. Y'all were USING my family as a MEANS to your ENDS. And that my friendly correspondents, is UNETHICAL.

    I never met Jon DeCamp (sp?). But I did read about his challenge to LB775-type legislation. He got nowhere, but his ideology on this score was sound in principle as well as economically.

    I knew Jon Bruning from his, er "service" in the unicameral. That man is as unethical and hypocritical as the day is long. He would be no better and no worse than Ben Nelson.

    And finally, yes, David Kramer did bring y'all the OPS school bonds (good) and the Qwest Center (bad).

    Any questions?

  28. Lucky says:

    Who ever runs for Senate needs to get in the race in the next few weeks unless they are loaded with cash.

    Jon is out and raising $$.

    Stenberg gets 30% of the R vote for just showing up.

    Any credible candidate will only hurt Jon, and if that is your goal then go for it.

    Nelso is waiting to see who will run to see if he is even going to try.

    Meanwhile your taxes are going to go up, inflation is here, and unemployment will remain in the 9% area.

    On a brighter note, Global Warming/Cliamte Change will turn Nebraska into a wonderful Sub-tropical paradise:)

  29. Anonymous says:

    Governor Kay Orr is a candidate I could get excited about and actually go out and work for. Run Kay Run! Anyone know if Art Knox is still around?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Stenberg can get 30% of the vote against a field of nobody's

    For as long as he's been around that was a rather poor showing for this treasurers run.

    You know, the race he just won and hasn't even been sworn in yet?

  31. Anonymous says:

    How about we worry about finding a candidate for Mayor Lincoln. That election is just around the corner. Are we really going to just give Beutler a bye?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Now that ALL of Kay Orr's supporters have weighed in, can we get serious? So she's shilling for Fortenberry and Foley? Fortenberry isn't dumb enough to give up a secure thing that doesn't draw any viable opposition for him every two years. Who wants to raise money for a Senate race when they have a sure thing in hand that really pays the same and gives all the same bennies? Foley can continue gaining goodwill as the taxpayers' watchdog and then make an eventual run for Governor.

  33. Anonymous says:

    What exactly is the love affair with Sheehy? He was picked by Heineman to secure votes in the 3rd district. He has a ceremonial position that ribbon cuts and does nothing to advance public policy. He's a turn-coat democrat….what exactly are his positives, his leadership potential, his fundraising capabilities, grassroots infrastructure, his qualifications for running and his qualifications for the job?

  34. Anonymous says:

    Can we go back to the recall? Sounds like they are eating their young again with people behind the curtain and others thrown under the bus….now that's how politics was meant to be.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Sad day in Lincoln for Republicans. While every Republican officeholder is "thinking about" running for Senate in 2012, they can't seem to find a candidate for Lincoln Mayor. Mark Fahleson is in the paper sounding desparate and pathetic "we've got candidates, there's in the exploratory stages."

    Don't you feel bad about all those hurtful things you said about Jane Kinsey, she might end up being your Mayoral candidate.

  36. TexasAnnie says:

    Street Sweeper:

    I want to know about "Nebraska values."
    I heard and read a lot about Nebraska values when I was brought to the state to pay the taxes y'all wanted to spend without expending.

    Tell me about those "Nebraska values" that killed a dozen down at Beatrice last year…

  37. Anonymous says:

    Previously used and discarded politicians who ambitiously hope to climb out the trash bin and be elected to power, have something seriously wrong with them.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Cannot believe the incredibly sexist responses here. Can't imagine that the Democrats would say the same things about Bob Kerrey if he decided to run on their ticket. Oh wait: These responses are from the "tolerant" Democrat trolls. Thanks guys!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Tex An- I hope you get a new drum for Christmas. The one you been beating is worn and torn and not getting a thing done. Perhaps you could turn your considerable intellect and keen insight towards offering a plausible solution to the issue of the day.

    Or- you could just keep living in the past hoping someone will give a hoot about your perception of a place you don't even live. Which of course is highly sought after by those in a position to put things "Right".

  40. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know who is running for NEGOP chair in January? Face it, if Mark Fahleson can't recruit a candidate to run for Mayor of his own hometown Lincoln he is just not cutting the mustard. He had nothing to do with Heineman, Terry, Fortenberry, or Smith getting re-elected, and while Democrats got slaughtered nationwide only Kent Rogert was taken down despite the deep pockets of AFP and Pete Ricketts.

    Fahleson has got to go.

  41. Grundle King says:

    Anon 2:15, 11:28, 9:32…I live in Lincoln. I voted for Bush and McCain. I voted for Ken Svoboda as well. I hope those facts demonstrate that I have consistently voted for Republican candidates. Now, I don't think that information makes me special or is particularly interesting…but I offer it only as evidence to counter any argument that I'm some liberal whack-job in lieu of my next statement…

    I have no problem with Chris Beutler as mayor. Indeed, many of the concerns I had about him at the time of his election have proven unfounded. He's proven to be a MUCH better mayor than the previous inhabitant of that office, and IMHO, he's done a great job of governing from center. I may still differ from him on many political mayor, but I can't justify kicking the guy out of office with his current track record.

    Now I have a question for you anonymous folks that are so concerned about the Lincoln mayoral race…do you even live in Lincoln? How about Lancaster County? Work here, maybe?

  42. Anonymous says:

    Possible topic for discussion is the list of program cuts the legislature may move on and how local governments will deal with less state aide.

    Will counties and or cities have the stomach to raise property taxes?

  43. TexasAnnie says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Street Sweeper!

    I did google as you suggested and found Elisia Harvey's "The Elusive 'NV' Factor."

    I recommend it to those willing to consider REAL ethics, (not simply Republican and Democratic campaign speeches…).

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