Why the Winner-Take-All vote?

Why did the Winner-Take-All vote get trapped in committee last week? It was any easy vote. Nearly every Republican supported it. It easily makes sense.

Well, let us take a look at that.

First, let us dispense with the notion that Nebraska should keep the split of Electoral Votes by Congressional District.

Only one other state does it, and it is screwy to have a nationwide system differ by state. If it is a good idea, then everyone should do it. Or no one should do it. But to have it differ by state is ridiculous for the system. Frankly the Electoral System needs an overhaul, with some sort of national convention, where the whole Iowa-New Hampshire thing is blown up and an actual plan comes out of it. “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” is not reason.


OK, so let us start with, “There is no good reason for Nebraska to split their votes — unless you are a Democrat.

Sure the Dems like it. Their party broke off a vote last election. It pumped up the Dem base and nearly ousted a GOP Congressman with it. And increased Dem votes caused by it would help out their other candidates. Heck, they may even get a few suck-up visits to the Civic Auditorium with it. What’s not to love (if you are a Dem)?

So, back to the premise that it is easy for a Republican to want Winner Take All (WTA). It is not as if it is some radical idea. Every GOPer wants it (or should).


What would make a Republican from the solidly solid 3rd Congressional District break ranks and vote to help out the election chances of Ben Nelson, Lee Terry’s opponent, and Barack Obama?



The swing vote in the Government Affairs Committee of the Legislature was state Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus.

Republican Paul Schumacher, along with the Democrats on the Committee trapped this bill.

Schumacher did it.

So, the question is, why?

To answer that question we have engage in speculation and opinion. We are not mind-readers. We do not know for any fact what his motives were. We can only guess, and judge based on those guesses.

So guess we will.


Paul Schumacher is the President of Community Lottery Systems, Inc., a company that promotes gambling in Nebraska — mainly Keno.

Community Lottery Systems gave nearly a million dollars to “Keep the Money in Nebraska” in 2004, a group that promotes expanded Keno and slot machines in Nebraska.

Paul Schumacher would like expanded gambling in Nebraska. We believe that he would agree with that statement.

(And by the way, we are not saying that expanded gambling is bad or good, just the state Senator Schumacher has a clear stake in it.)

Two committees in the Unicameral have a great deal of influence on how gambling could be expanded in Nebraska: Government Affairs — which affects how petition processes and ballot initiatives are governed — and General Affairs — which looks at regulations on such things as…Keno. Schumacher is now on both.

General Affairs was not difficult to get on. Government Affairs, however, took some doing.

After he was elected in 2010, Schumacher received certain support to get on the Government Affairs Committee. One of his more vocal supporters to get on Government Affairs was Democrat state Senator Danielle Conrad.

How did Republican Schumacher get the support of Democrat Conrad to get on Government Affairs?


Well, we do not know for certain.


It could have been that Conrad made a deal with Schumacher that if she helped get him on Government Affairs, he would vote against Winner Take All.

Coulda been. But again, we don’t know.

But horse trading his vote on this issue sure makes a lot more sense than the BS reasons that Republican Third-Districter Schumacher has given for voting against Winner Take All.

A LOT more.

The Dems now want the Omaha Mayor Recall supporters to pay for the cost of the recall election. If we were them we would have made that argument as well. That’s what they do.

Anywho, here is full response from Recall Spokesman, Jeremy Aspen:

The recall was a by-product of citizens caring about their city and the direction it is headed. None of the reasons that almost 40,000 people voted to have Mayor Suttle removed have just gone away because he won by 1 percentage point.

As part of our democratic process there is the necessary step of counting how people vote, and that costs money. It ends up elections are worth it as demonstrated by hundreds of years of a good track record.

Jim Rogers mentions in his statement that “The recall effort may have failed, but those who will ultimately lose out are the taxpayers of Omaha.” And while that may be an irresponsible thing to say while the city is trying to move forward it is also wrong. The taxpayers of Omaha made a statement to the Mayor that cost all of us $355K because that is what it took to get the message across to him. Now it is the mayor’s turn to make it worth it.

I also think that if you were to ask Mayor Suttle he would join me in asking everybody to let the recall remain a part of our history and move forward together in making our city better. The recall is over.


We heard about this “The Facebook” thing while watching the Oscars. Apparently it is real popular with kids and hipsters and Harvard students.

Anywho, you can now “Like” (what’s not to like?) Leavenworth Street on Facebook and keep track of when we put up new posts.

Now the only question is do we Tweet when we update Facebook with new posts from the blog? Or vice-vice-vice versa.

Ah the internets…


  1. Vernon J says:

    YOU stay off that facebook business.

    Its worthless, & most of those kids & hipsters can’t vote, so why educate them. I know, they could be possible future voters, Just have em call me & I’ll encourage them how to vote.

    You have to register to use facebook & why do that?

    When we can come to this site, interact & comment on your WISE wisdom.

    As you know you were the 3rd place for covering the results of the Mayoral Recall Election. Keep this great .com going & use twitter to the best of your ability.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Or maybe he’s just mad because the NEGOP heavily supported Larry Moser, the Republican he ran against in the General, and this is pay-back time.

  3. Uncle Wiggily says:


    I don’t Facebook … I have never Facebooked … I will never Facebook … Facebook is the electro-digital equivalent of doing jumping-jacks naked while standing on an overpass on I-80 – just to attract attention.

    Oh, and if you ever send me another mass emailing, about Facebook or anything else, you will be clipped out of my Bookmark list quicker than Charlie Sheen can get his boxers off. Capish?

  4. Third District GOP says:

    The NEGOP didn’t support Larry Moser against Schumacher, nor did they support Mike Moser, the former mayor of Columbus and Schumacher’s actual opponent. But the NE Telecom industry did because Schumacher is a constant pain in the rear to them and everyone else. That obviously backfired on them

  5. Kortezzi says:

    Sweeper, I find you case against Schumacher to be quite compelling.

    Let’s watch Sen. Danielle Conrad. We will find out if this was a quid pro quo. Nobody keeps a deal like this confidential for long. They like to brag about how clever they did things.

    The GOP should teach Schumacher a lesson next time an opportunity presents itself. How about redirecting the whole lottery / keno kickback money from the Columbus & other cities to the state treasury? I bet Governor Dave would sign that in today’s difficult budget environment.

    Would Gov Dave sign an expanded Keno thing? No chance. You made a stupid deal, Paul.

  6. SHOCKED!! says:

    Do you mean that members of our Legislature trade votes and make deals? I assumed that in a non-partisan envronment that couldn’t happen.

    It looks like your real complaint is that one Senator wasn’t in the Governors pocket on a particular vote. Maybe Schumacher deserves an award for demonstrating that he actually has higher priorities than partisan politics.

  7. Oh Mander says:

    Maybe you’re right about Mr. Schumacher’s intentions…

    Or maybe Mr. Schumacher is one of the few GOPers left in this country that hasn’t completely blocked the 2008 election, and the GOP-led and DFL-accomodated incompetence that led to it, from his memory. Maybe he remembers that by the time Nebraska’s primary rolled around, Senator John “Let’s Do Away With Farm Subsidies” McCain had the nomination in the bag, and that your voice in the primary wasn’t worth shit. When you have a late primary like we do, you have to find new and exciting ways to stay relevant. The split system attracts a certain amount of attention, albeit a small amount, that we otherwise would not recieve from federal candidates. WTA would strip this back-bench state of what little influence it has in this ridiculous primary system and even more ridiculous electoral college system. But I suppose you’d expect that kind of answer from a left-leaner, right?

  8. McCain Voter says:


    Staying relevant is not a worthy policy goal. And you’re right that our system attracted attention – in the form of millions in out-of-state special interest dollars to run nasty campaign ads in the second district. Since when is this a desirable outcome?

    I am increasingly annoyed by the sentiments of Dianna Schimek and OWH hack Michael Kelly who are driven only by their collectively low self-esteem and the need for someone to please, please, pretty please, pay attention to us.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Deserves an award for his higher priorities? Really? So using the Legislature to line your own pockets with more keno money is more admirable than voting to advance Winner Take All? You’ve all lost your minds.

  10. Nate says:

    Nebraskans on Facebook need a good place to find a counterpoint to groups like BN. Kudos to SS for setting up the Facebook page.

  11. Schumacher's constituent says:

    I love the fact that people like Jane Kleeb and Kyle Michalis and Jack on KLIN are heralding Schumacher. As someone who has seen how this guy operates for 15+ years, I’m VERY confident they’ll have to eat their words. Paul does what’s good for Paul, and then there’s that loony side of him that makes Lyndon Larouche look sane.

  12. SHOCKED!! says:

    If we kicked out all the whores in the Legislature who are advancing their own interests we’d end up with about forty-nine empty chairs.

    We got a guy who makes his living turning social services jobs over to for profit corporations. A hand full of sleezy lawyers passing laws to help out their practices. Farmers and ranchers looking to lower their already lower property taxes and increase their ag subsidies. A couple of brokers pimping capital gains. A few public employees protecting their turf. A guy who exploits old people. A couple who don’t even appear to have a job who will no doubt become lobbyists… You’d be hard pressed to walk into a room more packed full of people who are making a living looting the state coffers. It’s laughable to point out Schumacher as some sort of master at making deals to enrich his own portfolio. The guy probably doesn’t even rank in the upper half of self serving rip-off artists in the legislature.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I’m a Republican who thinks our state’s electoral college votes should stay just as it is. It’s much more fair and representative and every state in the country SHOULD do it like we do. Besides, why should we change the way we’ve always done things just to try and save Lee Terry’s ass?

  14. RWP says:

    Well, the fact is, there are real Republicans in Nebraska, and then there are hyper-RINOs like Schumacher and Brad Ashford who use the Republican ticket as a flag of convenience to get elected, and then vote like Democrats. It’s really a con-job on the electorate.

    The Nebraska GOP needs to establish a little party discipline. With a supermajority this session, they’ve been able to accomplish almost nothing of any substance. Compare and contrast what the GOP has done in Wisconsin, a much less red state.

  15. Get in Line says:

    Yes, yes, yes, RWP. Who in the hell do these non-partisan legislators think they are anyway? How dare they vote their consciences or actually try to represent the folks that elected them? Don’t they understand that their primary obligation is to get in lock step with the dictates of the NEGOP’s hierarchy? What do they think we live in, a democracy?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Exactly Get in Line. As a Republican, I’m so sick of the people in my own party who think THEY get to dictate what everyone else should think, say, or do. A little independent thought is a good thing. Also, if we go with Street Sweeper’s logic on the winner-take-all vote, we should do away with our unicameral because no one else in the country does it that way. Is that what you want SS?

  17. Yes! That’s EXACTLY what I want! Your logic is so awesome!
    Because the legislature votes on the same bills as the other…states…and…oh. Wait a minute.
    Oh yeah.
    I stand by everything written in the post.
    And you’re overcooked Jello.

  18. Dennis says:

    A vote to change Nebraska’s EV law back to winner take all system is only an “easy” vote and makes “sense” if you’re a blind, partisan Republican. The present EV law actually made Nebraska relevant for the first time in decades in Presidential politics. If the Nebraska GOP had got it’s ways, our state would’ve reverted back to fly over country once again in 2012.

  19. Dennis says:

    The bill for the failed recall effort should be sent to this blog, KFAB 1110 AM, Vorhees, Becka, Rose, Saddlemeyer, Nabity, Aspen et al. Their hyper-partisan and misguided effort divided the City of Omaha and squandered taxpayer money during the middle of a budget crisis. Thanks for nothing.

  20. MacDaddy says:

    That’s your argument for keeping the current system? We get noticed? What is this, 7th grade? Good grief.

    Fine. Keep the current idiotic system that was changed for God only knows why. Redistricting should take care of the problem and make the CD2 Solid Republican. Unfortunately, the national campaign people who allocate the money will notice the redistricting changes as well and probably decide that it isn’t worth wasting money for one lousy long-shot vote. Oops. Should have gone back to the old way.

  21. RWP says:

    Non partisan, yeah, right. Danielle Conrad, Bill Avery, and their cohorts are non partisan. Who do you think you’re dealing with here? A five year old?

    You may be a fool. You probably are. But please don’t take me for one.

    When California splits its vote, call me.

  22. Just wishin' says:

    When Nebraska returns to a two house legislature, then we should do away with the split electoral vote. After all, conformity to Republican dictates is the law of the land.

  23. Grundle King says:

    Just wishin’ wrote: “After all, conformity to Republican dictates is the law of the land.”

    As a matter of fact, yeah, it is. When you live in a red state, you have to kinda expect to live with red-state rules. The whole ‘when in Rome…’ thing.

    Now, pick your head up off your tear-stained pillow…it’s not so bad. Take heart knowing that, while maybe a couple hundred thousand Democrat voters ALMOST got disenfranchised in Nebraska, a few million Republican voters will continue to get disenfranchised in California and New York.

    Don’t you feel better now?

  24. Anonymous says:


    Getting noticed as a state during a presidential race is hardly equitable to 7th grade popularity rules. I, for one, prefer presidential candidates actually taking notice of what Nebraskans think, feel, and say. Why do you like to be ignored?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Can we stop pretending that the current system is good for the state and that because of it presidential candidates care what we think? This system magnifies Omaha, Omaha, Omaha – those are the only votes that matter. Under this system, no candidate will ever stop in Lincoln, Scottsbluff, or Columbus, much less care what those Nebraskans think or have to say.

  26. I See Jane People says:

    It is too funny Jane has he people postin “I am a Republican and I like the way it is now.”

    Anytime someone starts a statement with “I am a republican and…” or I am a Republican but…” you know they are a Republican.

    As for the mad gambler from C-Bus? He is only inthe legislature to try and line his own pockets. This was a blatant trade to help him financially. It will be very clear when the dust settles. He’ll be a one termer but will probably get his legislation through to set him for life. All while screwing Nebraskans and making many other staes more relevant in the electoral college.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Please explain this statement:

    “All while screwing Nebraskans and making many other staes more relevant in the electoral college.”

  28. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Actually, it is the independent voter that holds the real electoral power in Nebraska. Although voters registered as Republicans outnumber Democrats by a sizable majority, they still count as something less than half the registered voters in this state. Even then, many of those registered to the major parties are hardly lock-step followers of their party’s plutocrats. Were you to ask them, they would probably tell you that they registered one way or the other because one of their parents was registered that way, and they’ve been too damned lazy to change their registration since the first time they did so.

    Nebraskans care more about Husker football, corn, hunting and their families than they do politics. Sure, there are those of us that are fanatics about it. But let’s face it, those of us that spew our opinions here on Leavenworth St. are very few and far between. We’re opinionated as we can be, but just because we hold our biases close to our breasts and readily blog about them at every opportunity, doesn’t mean our insight is any more meaningful than anyone else’s. For evidence I offer all the verbiage that was wasted here in the failed attempt to dislodge Omaha’s mayor. I personally believe all that transpired here had little, if any, effect on that outcome.

    As for the “winner-take-all” primary plan, I don’t much care for it. I think Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that have it right. The rest of the nation should follow us rather than us returning to the fold with all the other sheeple. Personally, I would like to see our democracy go to a one person – one vote plan. This whole rigamarole of gerrymandering districts and developing machinations to usurp the will of the people is downright Machiavellian.

    Despite the exhortations of RWP, Grundle King, and a few others, Nebraska is “red” only in its loyalty to the “Big Red.” While it is true that most Nebraskans lean less to the left than I and my kindred spirits, there is no denying that we Liberals are in your midst. We are well entrenched and we aren’t going anywhere. We refuse to silence our voices just to make the world a more comfy place for those that disagree with us. And really, if you support the concept of democracy, would you have it any other way?

  29. McCain Voter says:

    The other states will never follow Maine and Nebraska. When California tried, the first person to criticize it was Barack Obama. That’s because awarding electoral votes based on safe Republican or safe Democrat districts and their man-made political boundaries, rather than on the state’s popular vote, is a DUMB idea.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Let’s review. Recall people ran a lousy ground game while Suttle’s people literally found people on the street then shipped them on big yellow buses to vote and paid them for the pleasure of their “training”. Now that truly is leadership worthy of defending. Hopefully in 2013 someone will run who knows the meaning and isn’t afraid to demonstrate what it is to the huddled masses still sick of what they witnessed as acceptable to the majority of a minority.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Every single state senator in the unicameral is non partisan, unless you count the Democrats. Sorry, they’re just smarter than their Republican colleagues.

  32. Mr.Mojo says:

    Suck up visits to the Civic? Like when the Quitta from Wasilla showed up get a hockey sweatshirt from a suck up?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Anon 4:07, really?

    Just wait and see what happens over the next few weeks. I’m fairly certain those who are to the far left and pro union will be howling. Yet somehow or another the sun will rise and life will go on.

    BTW Sen Schumacher will need to invest in some furniture for his island he is moving to. The guy wants to have full blown gambling in the state, and yet goes around telling people the sky is falling with regards to the National Debt. So he is worried about long term issues while more than happy to take advantage of people in the short run. The guy will be trying to work the initative issue to lower the current thresholds so he can get gambling on the ballot. Not self serving there no way. Of course Conrad approves of this and will use it to get HSUS crap in the state, and all the other liberal b.s. on the ballots. Schumacher is in for an eye opening experience when he looks for support for any of his bills.

  34. Macdaddy says:

    Anon 9:42, you really think Obama gave a rat’s ass what Nebraskans thought about anything? Snort, snort, guffaw. And you wonder why he doesn’t call you anymore.

  35. NE Voter says:

    I’ve been away for awhile.

    Geez, Sweeper, when did you start drinking Welch’s Extra Sour Grapefruit Juice?

    By the bucket.

  36. Shoe Salesman says:

    I haven’t visit LS in a while but I’m gald I did tonight. I had to laugh at your argument against the split electoral vote system.

    “If it is a good idea, then everyone should do it. Or no one should do it. But to have it differ by state is ridiculous for the system.”

    Seems to me that this philosophy is inconsistent with your position on other state related matters. This argument contradicts your incessent railing against Ben Nelson’s vote on the health care law – specifically the so-called Cornhusker Kickback. It seems to me that Ben was trying to get a level playing field for all states when it came to medicaid costs. He succeeded in getting every state treated the same under the law because having it “differ by state is ridiculous for the system.”

    Now I can’t imagine you’ll agree with my thoughts here. Just sayin’ you’re philosophy is betrayed by your partisanship.

  37. Shoey,
    It’s always fun to read your nonsequiturs.
    Yup, the Electoral College System’s dysfunction is just like…the Health Care vote?
    And you STILL believe that joke about Nelson wanting to “level the playing field”?
    Riiiiiiiiight. ‘Twas just a placeholder, the Cornhusker Kickback was!
    Yup. MY partisanship…
    Great to have you back.

  38. TexasAnnie says:

    Where is the non sequitur? Shoe Salesman or “Shoey,” argued from analogy, and a very powerful analogy at that? Analogy is a valid method for developing logical arguments.

    The quality of some of the posts here is exceptional and much greater than usual. But Street Sweeper, your perspective denounces free thought and independence. Did you really intend to suggest, as RWP has stated above, that registered Republicans owe allegiance to their party? Is ‘sheeple’ the correct descriptor for the people of Nebraska?

  39. Cigar Smoker says:

    I realize this is out of left field (and not just because I’m a liberal) but isn’t it possible he likes the current system? Why does it all have to be a conspiracy? Apparently repubs want to elect robots who vote nothing but the party line and dont ya know, actually look at the issue. Neither party has a monopoly on being right even half the time, to say otherwise shows you to be an idiot.

    SS, the argument “everyone else does it like this so we should to” is ridiculous and childish. If a liberal tried that you would jump down their throats with it and rightly so. Quit being a hypocrit.

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