Nelson: Behind, running?

ICYMI because you were stuck under a snow drift and/or in your car, the ultra-liberal Daily Kos’s polling outfit, Public Policy Polling shows Ben Nelson way behind his potential 2012 Senate challengers.

The numbers look like this:

Jon Bruning 50%
Ben Nelson 39%

Don Stenberg 45%
Ben Nelson 41%

Well, at least it gets better for Nelson if those two fall down a well:

Ben Nelson 42%
Deb Fischer 35%

Ben Nelson 42%
Pat Flynn 33%

PPP notes that Nelson, who in the past has garnered a large amount of GOP support, has instead seen Republicans desert him (can you say Cornhusker Kickback? Thanks).

And again kids, keep in mind that this isn’t Karl Rove’s posse opining.


Add to that the recent quarterly fundraising numbers from Nelson.

His latest show that he raised only $80,000 this past quarter, with nearly half coming from PACs. His Cash on Hand is at $1.4 million.

To put those numbers in perspective, most would find him closer to quarterly numbers of $250K, if he were really engaged in it. His COH numbers are still in the ballpark of campaigning. But if he doesn’t step it up, Bruning will pass him very soon.

So while he is no doubt dialing for dollars…is it really for his re-election?

Or is he just keeping some walking around money (we like to call it WAM) on hand?

Polling numbers stink.
Losing/has lost his traditional base of support.
(Maybe) not raising money like a serious contender.

Will Ben Nelson stick around?
That is the question of the day (commenters).


And just to fire things up, what happens if he doesn’t run?
A business community Republican?

And for the Dems?
Raimondo could always step up probably.
But if he doesn’t want to blow any more cash?

Exciting times.

Now go finish shoveling.


  1. Bennie and the Jets says:

    The important thing for Ben is that he grab all the money he can for his campaign, then he can use it to influence the Nebraska Democratic Party for years to come. Bob Kerry’s cash helped advance Scott Kleeb’s candidacies. Hell, James Exon’s campaign money is still influencing politics in this state and he’s been dead for five years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If Ben doesn’t run maybe Jane or Scott will and we can finally put an end to the Kleeb quest to be big fishes in big ponds rather than the little fishes in the little ponds that they are now.

  3. Oh Mander says:

    Regardless of poll numbers, I think he runs, assuming he can swallow his pride and resist the urge to go out on a high note, essentially dooming Nebraska progressives to suffer through a political monopoly for the next several years. Despite the Kickback, he is still the only somewhat-viable Democrat left in this reddest of states. Nebraska will not elect a rubber-stamp-across-the-board liberal, and I’m not holding my breath waiting for a new squeaky clean Nebraska-style Democrat (whatever that means anymore) to emerge from the field. Until the folks out west stop voting for the party that would gladly do away with their lucrative farm subsidies, sadly Nelson is our best shot. God dammit…

  4. Grundle King says:

    I think a ‘Nebraska-style’ Democrat would be someone who, while he/she would have a liberal slant, would put the wishes of his/her constituency above the wishes of the Democratic party. They would speak-up for the people, not speak-down to the people. They’d be a moderate…but that would be the problem with this imaginary candidate…he/she would be viewed as too conservative to ever garner support from the national Dem party.

  5. Whatever says:

    I think Scott and Jane are already pushing to get Scott up and running again. He just updated his website and they are really pushing the perfect family image. Unfortunately, I heard his “company” had to lay off people because they were getting business.

  6. EBN Negatives says:

    Nelson needs two things to happen to overcome 50pct negatives. He must hope over the next 18 months that voter dissatisfaction with him subsides (not likely after his Health Care vote) and has to sling a lot of mud at his potential opponents and hope some of it sticks. The chances of both occurring are about as likely as counting on his Senate vote to support the best interests of Nebraska. He isn’t going to run.

  7. What's Old Is New Again says:

    Ben isn’t going to run again in 2012. He knows he’s doomed and has lucrative corporate boards just waiting for him or he can lobby for the health insurance industry. Bob Kerrey is going to run in 2012 and he’s going to be all about ending the was in Afganistan. He isn’t going to win but at least he’ll keep the Kleebs out.

  8. Dan Brown says:

    After the huge voter mandate Suttle received last week, he has to be considering a run? And don’t forget about Mike or Anne Boyle.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ben Nelson will run again, the people of nebraska will realize that Senator Nelson will vote and will continue to what is right for Nebraska even if the people don’t see it right away.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How will Cosmic Bob portray himself as a family man with a wife that won’t set foot in Nebraska for more than ten minutes without breaking out in hives? One more failed run for Scotty and they can break camp on this little experiment in the Midwest and move to a liberal State where far more people will be interested in “going green”, thus keeping Kleeb’s tax-funded energy biz going. And Jane can be right at home in a lib State once she finds another well-heeled Daddy Dick.

  11. Macdaddy says:

    I see that Senator Nelson has said the individual mandate needs to be eliminated. Way to see the light, Bennie boy, after thousands of your constituents begged you not to vote for it, 26 states sued to overturn it, and 2 federal judges gave declared it unconstitutional. What a tool.

  12. Mr.Mojo says:

    Stenberg? Bruning? Those two personality challenged half wits make Johanns look like Jim Morrison. Once again, we will be represented by Curtis and Hruska clones. Start laughing, America!

  13. Dennis says:

    It’s almost two years until Election Day 2012. That is more than a lifetime in politics. If Nelson runs for re-election, he will raise a pile of money and run a bunch of contrast ads. Nelson did a pretty good job of exposing Ricketts’ extreme views during the 2006 campaign. Ask President Dewey about being over confident in advance of an election.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Todays vote on Health Care repeal will once again show how much of a Tin Ear EBN has. Of course it is true that Bruning isn’t that much of a choice for NE. Who know’s who will have the right stuff in 2012.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Re PERSONALITY: Johanns is mild mannered, Bruning is serious, Stenberg is dead pan, and Ben Nelson is Fred Flintstone on prozac. None of them are sparkling personalities. But they aren’t supposed to be. They are policy makers and leaders not entertainers.

    Someone like Stenberg, who has a bland personality, was very successful and well respected as Attorney General. He was liked for doing his job well and with integrity. People dislike Nelson not for his personality but for sake of his unethical kickback and his passage of bills Nebraskans dislike.

    Re HALFWITS: Ben Nelson was a Democrat Senator from Republican Nebraska. He had it made. Now he’s behind Bruning and Stenberg. If they are half wits, Nelson is even less.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Ricketts’ extreme views? Like not letting government tyrannize you? Man, you should march yourself into the gulag of your choice.

  17. Macdaddy says:

    Nelson talks what used to be a good game (before people quit believing him) and yet, given an opportunity for a do-over, he once again gives Nebraskans his middle finger. Allow me to translate Senator Nelson’s remarks to an insurance group: “I believe it’s time to get rid of the mandated coverage. But don’t expect me to vote that way.”

    Believe whatever comes out of Nelson’s mouth at your own peril.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Jon Bruning declares he is running for office, a few short weeks later he tells the Nebraska Supreme Court to schedule an execution. Does Jon Bruning know how to kick off a campaign or what?

  19. Dennis says:

    Pete Ricketts favored a regressive national sales tax which favors the economic interests of wealthy people like Ricketts. Moreover, Ricketts favored the partial privatization of Social Security. If the likes of Ricketts and Bush had gotten their way on S.S., millions of Americans’ retirement fund would’ve been wiped out in the stock market crash of 2008/09.

  20. Oh Mander says:

    Yeah, I don’t see Ricketts running again. He will be too busy with another failed pennant race to run another failed Senate campaign. He might as well just set fire to a huge pile of cash (again).

  21. Macdaddy says:

    Dennis, Social Security is now in the red. Millions of Americans’ retirement plans are going to be wiped out by the government. I certainly don’t expect to see the first penny from Social Security when I retire. Would have been nice to have gotten pennies on the dollar rather than a big fat goose egg.

  22. Still Lying Ambulance Chaser says:

    That “regressive national sales tax” Dennis made reference to is the proposed Fair Tax Act. It replaces all current Federal taxes with a single national sales tax that also includes a “prebate” paid monthly to cover the taxes payable on food, clothing, etc., based upon Federal poverty definition. It would be a huge incentive for economic development and also serve to limit the expansion of the Federal government by taking the tax code away from our so-called representatives. I doubt the working poor would see taking home their entire paycheck as regressive and leave it to a lying liberal like Dennis to misrepresent it.

  23. curbfeeler says:

    In the poll, Nelson is behind Bruning and Stenberg but Nelson is ahead of Fischer and Flynn. Would that be Bobby Fischer and Erroll Flynn?

    Comparing two relative unknowns to two well knowns, is a distortion meant to show balance in Nelson’s chances. Since elections are decided by the least attentative voters, name recognition matters and thus the comparison lacks weight.

    A more accurate snapshot of Nelson’s chances is seen in the fact that Stenberg, who has maximum name recognition and who has been beaten like a rug for decades, is ahead of Nelson in polls. Voters know Stenberg as a loser yet they still put him ahead of Nelson. That is weighty.

  24. NE Voter says:

    National sales tax is the biggest Republican flim-flam going. Let’s look at 2 hypothetical families. In one, the combined family income is $150,000 per year. With kids and other expenses, this family lives reasonably well and is able to save 10% of their income each year.

    The other family is less well off, bringing home a combined income of $85,000 per year. With kids and other expenses, this family is unable to save much each year, usually breaking even.

    Now — Look at how the national sales tax affects each family. The 10% the first family is able to sock away is untaxed because it is not spent on consumption. Thus, they only pay tax on the 90% of their income that is spent. Nine of every ten dollars they earn is taxed.

    Different story for the second family. Because they spend 100% of their income each year, they are taxed on 100% of their income. Every dollar they earn is taxed.

    Now, extrapolate that to upper income earners of the $250,000 and up variety. It’s easy to see that if a family earned $1,000,000 per year, and only spent $300,000 to support their lifestyle, they would only be taxed on 3 of every 10 dollars they earned.

    Real “fair.” Absolutely terrible policy that will never go anywhere.

  25. Liberals Define 'Fairness' says:

    NE Voter,
    Once again the liberal definition of ‘fair taxation’ shines through in your illustration. Namely, people with higher incomes should pay taxes at A) a higher percentage rate and B) in greater proportion to everyone else. Second, liberals should be in charge of redistributing it. That is their definition of ‘fair’.

    What makes these plans truly fair is that both families pay taxes at the SAME RATE. They are treated equally under the law.

    In your latter ‘rich’ scenario, the ‘poor’ family making $85,000 (if we were all only so poor) pays $8,500 in taxes while the ‘rich’ family spending $300,000 pays $30,000. This is 3.5 TIMES the taxes as the other family yet it still isn’t enough for liberals.

    I’m not arguing this proposal is the best out there, but it is far superior and equitable when compared to our current system of taxation.

  26. The Pip says:

    WAM should be outlawed. Adrian gave away $250,000 from his constituent’s egg and cream money to other politicians to get his plumb position. There is a name for Senator. He is a gifted politician and orator, with lots of experience. He has done well hiding among the 400 plus. He will vote as told, and will always put the people, er party, er I mean money first. And he rode his elephant into D.C., and was never heard from, again. Senator Adrian Smith, kind of has a ring to it.

  27. NE Voter says:


    The U.S. has a long tradition of progressive taxation. Conservative nutballs prefer regressive taxation in service to their wealthy base.

    Only a conservative could consider fair taxing 100% of the doallars earned by those who must spend all that they earn, and a small percentage of the dollars earned by wealthier earners.


  28. Oh Mander says:

    Macdaddy – While I agree social security reform is necessary, your doom and gloom assessment isn’t accurate. According to my last social security statement, which was issued by the US Social Security Administration, if no reforms to the current system were made, the fund would still be able to pay out approximately 75% of current benefits by the year 2050. Of course that assumes that no more Dubya’s come along and raid the piggy bank. Stop perpetuating these scare tactics.

  29. Oracle says:

    Macdaddy, either you’re not very smart or purposely deceiving. In 1982 Ronald Reagan signed a law that raised the Social Security tax. For the last 28 years folks who receive a paycheck have been paying in more than Social Security is paying out. This was to cover the baby boomers retirement. The surplus was invested in Treasury bonds. As expected we have reached the point where payout is greater than payin. But we have built up a $2.5 trillion surplus. To keep SS sustainable into infinity all that is required is to raise the taxable cap so that the historical standard of 90% of wages being taxed is restored.

  30. MacDaddy says:

    Oh Mander, did you happen to notice the size of the deficits under Obama? Does Obama now count as a Dubya?

    As far as scare tactics go, though, it’s the Left who insists on using them when it comes to Social Security. We’ve entered the red 7 years before people were predicting us to even a couple of years ago. The Left insists that Republicans want us to gamble our nest egg in the market but ignores the fact that losing money in Social Security is a sure thing.

  31. MacDaddy says:

    Oracle, I agree that something needs to be done about Social Security. The surplus, which is really a bunch of IOUs that we will have to finance through China, will run out as early as 2037, probably sooner. Obama doesn’t really care about that as evidenced by his ignoring his own deficit commission and, gosh, did he even bring it up in the SOTUS? Republicans have proposals. Democrats are the party of kick the can down the road. Apparently Oh Mander thinks it’s OK if poor people end up with 25% less in their retirement than what they were planning on.

  32. Oh Mander says:

    First of all, I’m not trying to make this a left vs. right thing – I’m just repeating what the Social Security Admin is saying, and I tend to take their word over the word of random blog posts. Second, deficit spending based on foreign credit and borrowing actual cash from the social security fund are two separate things.

    The left is not ignoring the fact that reform is needed – they just object to handing the reins over to Wall St, especially since they have proven that they are not worthy of our trust. As someone posted earlier, if Republicans would have had their way during the Bush Admin, the privatization plan would have put the fund in a far worse position than it is in today due to the financial crisis. We can do better than that, and the sense of urgency that you convey is not based in reality.

  33. Oracle says:

    No one likes deficits, but there were completely different reasons behind W’s and Obama’s deficits. W’s were mainly a result of irresponsible tax breaks that in dollars mostly went to the very rich who didn’t need them, and an unnecessary war that wasn’t financed. Obama faced with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression followed Keynesian economic theory which required the government to start spending to restart the economy since consumers and businesses either wouldn’t or couldn’t spend.

  34. Kortezzi says:

    Ben will run. He’s too proud to hang in up and leave the impression he was chased out.

    So he will run. And he will lose. To Bruning. By 10% plus. Stenberg would be better, but he recognizes he’s lost too many times before and will serve out his term as NE Treasurer.

    Nelson will go down in NE political history as the pretend conservative Democrat who gave us socialized medicine when he really was the swing vote. He’ll then become a health care / insurance industry lobbyist, I suspect.

  35. Running says:


    Your scenario for Nelson after the Senate is highly likely. However, make no mistake, Stenberg will enter the race and Bruning will have to work to get the GOP nomination.

    Stenberg has all but stated that he is running. He is simply waiting for more time to pass after stepping into the Treasurer’s office before announcing. Plus, Stenberg never raises tons of money anyway, yet still pulls at least 30% of the primary vote just by putting his name on the ballot. So, what is his hurry to jump in the race? Bruning may have more cash, time on the campaign trail, and may be (slightly) more exciting to listen to speak, but he hasn’t been tested in a state-wide GOP primary.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I reread the blog title, Nelson Behind Running, and it sounds like you are asking if Nelson’s behind is running. Since intense fear can do that, its a valid question within the political context.

  37. Spike says:

    Lee Terry for US Senate, anyone?? Fits all of media brain washed Nabraskans criteria for higher Federal office! Kleeb needs to get out from under Jane’s skirts and show some Balls of his own before he can even think of running again. Don’t think wannabee macho Nebraskans much like their women waring the pants in the family? However I think Mr. Mom Kleeb’s political ambitions are a thing of the past!! Hopefully! In the BIG picture, America is in Deep Merde!!! I think that what we’re going to see is another WPA if things keep going the way they have been or we’re going to be in a revolution like Eygpt, led by the tea party jerks!! While Cheney & Bush raped America for the gain of a few people, at least Obama has put a bit of the debt into the hands of rank & file Americans but a lot more is going to be needed. That & the time has come, long overdue, to get rid of the Bank of England, ie the US Fed & create a US National Bank so that the wealth of the world isn’t funneled into the hands of some mysterious underworld elite!!!

  38. GOP Insider says:

    I don’t think anyone needs to worry about A. Smith running for senate anytime soon. Isn’t Brunings camp and adrians camp pretty close?

  39. Ledge Watcher says:

    Watching Scott Lautenbaugh perform on the floor of the legislature makes one long for the good old days when John DeCamp was the biggest whore in the Legislature. At least DeCamp whored for the lobbyists with some style and flair.

  40. The Pip says:

    Insider, Adrian can kiss all of the babies in the third, and keep telling the people out there what they want to hear, but he would get ground up in Omaha and Lincoln. Not only are they better at politics, they hold their foes accountable. Adrian is only accountable to those who have placed the thirty peices of silver in his purse.

  41. Out in the Third says:

    Pi(m)p [in reference to your illegitimate ideas],

    Winning a statewide office in NE requires winning the 3rd CD in a GOP primary. Yes, it can be done w/o but the surest way to do so, is by winning the 3rd CD.

    Best example which blows your theory is the Governor. He won the 3rd CD, lost, BOTH Omaha and Lincoln, yet beats Osborne by 6% in a 3-way race.

    Adrian Smith IS accountable to his constituents and that is why we keep re-electing him.

    Go pedal your political drivel elsewhere.

  42. The Pip says:

    Mr. One Out, I think Adrians comment to Liberty University about wanting to go to Congess, and stay there a long time, pretty much sums it up. A political lifer, first and always. I suppose the next time he says he has to pay for his own health insurance, you are gonna buy that bridge, too. Government provided health care is good enough for the shepherds, but not the flock. When Congressman Smith shows me that he is truly concerned for the common guy in the Third, I will give him credit. I will eat my crow pie. Until then, I assume he will keep towing the party line, and fulfilling his statement to Liberty. Nuff said. Change is something neither one of us are probably going to do.

  43. Dennis says:

    Social Security is solvent until 2037. If NO changes are made in S.S. by 2037, the program will still be able to pay out 75% of the promised benefits. If Bush and Ricketts had gotten their way, millions of Americans would’ve had their retirements decimated by the financial crisis of 2008/09. The Bush/Ricketts S.S. privatization plan failed because the vast majority of Americans (justifiably) didn’t trust Wall St. with their retirements.

  44. Dennis says:

    A national sales tax or “fair tax” would represent a tax increase for the middle class and the poor since they pay a higher percentage of their income on necessities than the wealthy do. Ricketts and the GOP support the national sales tax because it favors the wealthy. They simply don’t care about the poor and the middle class.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Are you getting these same numbers at the same place you got your Suttle recall numbers because we all know how right you ended up being.

  46. Anonymous says:

    The Legislature is getting a bit raccus (sp). The actions this week are nothing more than a tune up for the larger issues up and comming.

    1. Elimination of State Aid to Counties et al
    2. Winner Take All.
    3. CIR reform/elimination

    Point 3 will be very diffcult but looks like it will happen. If Lathrop and his Labor and Labor committee don’t kick out meaningful reform, then look for a bill to be gutted and stuffed with what meets “Meaningfull”. It will be brutal with lots of late nights.

    Other than that it will be all candy, puppies, and flowers:)

    Oh wait redisticting, the budget…….. Oh Happy Days are here……

  47. Cigar Smoker says:

    Anyone know how the cigar bar exemption is going? Ive been to busy to keep up with that court case. Oh, and in related news, Eff You Big Johns!

  48. Rob Reiner says:

    The courts ruled that the hotel and cigar bar exemptions were unconstitutional. Apparently the argument is that the workers in these establishments are subject to the “risks” of secondhand smoke, so the law must protect them as well.

  49. Nick Naylor says:

    wow look like team bruning is kick some serious ass in the primary #’s so far…

    47% of Nebraska Republicans say Bruning is top Senate choice to 19% for Stenberg

  50. Socialist Ambulance Chaser Lies says:

    Social Security is a ponzi scheme and anyone who claims otherwise is a liar. If the “trust fund” was subject to “mark to market” accounting rules, it would be bankrupt today. The retirement age will be raised, the cap on earnings subject to the SS tax will be raised and payments will be subject to a means test in an effort to keep the scheme from collapsing. So if you’re in your 40-50s and have paid in the max to SS for years, you’re going to see pennies on the dollar back from SS in the future versus what you are promised now when you turn 70.

  51. Sorry to jump into this discussion with something a bit off topic, Sweeper, but I just became aware of something that needs attention, and the NDP (Sen. Nelson’s campaign subsidiary) has pretty well shut down the ability of a Democrat like me to comment openly on any of their sites. I’ve known you to be more fair about issues of freedom of speech in the past, so ….

    State Senator Kate Sullivan (D) has introduced a bill (LB365) that seems VERY un-Democratic to me. Anyone that is a county chair, or otherwise interested in the independence of county chairs from their state party, be they Republican or Democrat, should take note of what she is attempting to do here.

    Currently, each county chair of a political party has the right to receive voter lists from their county’s clerk. If this bill passes, only the state parties would receive, and control, them. This effort to centralize the power of the people seems to be yet another example of the elite power brokers to concentrate the political will of the people into ever fewer hands.

    There should be a bi-partisan uproar over this blatant attack on democracy. It is things like this that have put me at odds with my own party so often in the past.

  52. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    RE: LB 365. It looks like an entity/individual? can still purchase county voting lists for not more than 3 cents per name but your point Brian is why should the state parties be provided county lists for free when the county chairmen can’t get them free in their own county? I don’t understand the “may” instead of “shall” in the section about the Secretary of State providing a list of all? registered voters in the state for $500.00? Does that mean if the Secretary of State so deems, that you as an individual/entity are not allowed to purchase the entire voter list if you had $500.00 to do so? I will be calling Sen. Sullivan’s office for more info. It was bad enough when Sen. Schimek ran a bunch of changes through under the radar. Now we have Sen. Avery picking up where she left off and apparently others to watch. Keeping up with election law-related bills and the Goverment Committee requires more eyes and ears.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Another problem with the bill is the legislative removal of the voter ID from the provided data. This makes it close to impossible to do any historical tracking or to match data from a new voter file to an existing one. So if one has been using the voter ID as a key to identify specific voters, and to perhaps attach info not found in the SOS supplied voter data, you’re now out of luck. Julie, don’t know why you are bringing Avery into the discussion. This bill comes from Sec. of State John Gale. His office stopped providing the ID a few months ago, but some county election commissioners were still providing it. This bill would block them from doing this.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Kortezzi what socialized health care law are you talking about.? All the new law says is that every one now can use their own money to buy health insurance, No more keeping people for any reason from buying health insurance. Right now 2 judges said no. 15 have said yes. on if it is legal under the constitution . The US does not have any plan close to what Western Europe or Canada has. The only government program we have is medicare and medicaide.Those plans came into being in 1965. They survived countless right wing court challenges. .The health insurance companies in the USA are private organizations. They are the last thing from single paper. . You have a right to your opinion. You don’t have any right to make up facts. So please stop doing so.

  55. Spike says:


    Good point about the desired changes to LB 365. What should be done in this the digital age, is that this information should be placed on the SS website with the deletion of all personal information of all registered voters except their party, names & addresses or voter district. It would be incredibly less expensive & ecologically less burdensome to be done in this fashion. I can’t fathom the logic of the sponsor of this change in agenda, other then there is no logic! And as you say coming from a purported democrat, makes no sense what-so-ever and is in fact an obstruction of the Freedom of Information Act and therefore illegal!

  56. Anonymous says:

    Anon: 10:30 Not trying to tie Sen Avery to 365, I was referring to other Avery-led bills in the past. So our beef is with Secy of State and why the change, what’s the purpose?

  57. Anonymous says:

    The only explanation I’ve heard is that the voter ID is somehow used in overseas/military voting, and it’s somewhat public in how it’s used. So it becomes a privacy issue in their minds as the voter ID could be used to look up a voter. The SOS should never have used the voter ID in this manner. Bad application design on their part with all of us that use the voter file paying the price.

  58. Don Kuhns says:

    MacDaddy’s response to Oracle reminds me of Rush Linbaugh getting pwned by Mike Stark last week.

    The only way Social Security “won’t be there”, as so many of our young people believe, will be if conservatives are allowed to destroy it. The only reason Democrats are even talking about cutting SS at this time is because they know that they they are too weak to stand up to the health/industrial complex and repair Medicare, where the real crisis is.

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