The latest (according to Politico) is the the national Dems are coming down hard on Ben Nelson to run again in 2012. The White House, the Senate and anyone else with a “D” in parenthesis after their name is giving Nelson the diamond-hard sell.
And then there is the NRSC working hard to woo Governor Dave Heineman to run for Senate. And though his answer was an unequivocal “No” not that long ago, now…he’s back to thinking about it.
To those in the know, this is a surprise, but not a shock. Heineman was always the top choice and the best bet to take on Nelson. Things have…changed a bit in the past few months, and the national Dems and GOPers are looking hard at Nebraska to be the state that flips or keeps the seat on one side of the aisle or the other.
So when Heineman told the New York Times former Nebraskan reporter Jeff Zeleny last week…
“I told them ‘no’ up until now,” Mr. Heineman said. “They keep calling, I keep listening.”
“It would take a lot to change my mind, but their argument is persuasive,” Mr. Heineman said. “They say, ‘Hey look, you can make a difference for the country.’ I went to West Point and served in the Army, so that’s appealing to me, but I like Nebraska and I like being the governor compared to being a United States senator.”
…a bit of a whoop went through the political crowd watching this race. Sort of like when you would be at a Husker game and see that Oklahoma was losing their game late in the fourth quarter. A heavy murmur, as it were.
But here’s the funny thing here:
Ben Nelson has said he will make his decision within the next three weeks or so.
Heineman has said he could wait until February to make his call.
So let us assume, for the sake of the argument, that Heineman only wants to run…if he HAS to. In other words, if Nelson does NOT run, many think that Governor Dave will not either.
But if Nelson DOES decide to run, then Heineman will take a much harder look at it, possibly finally pulling the trigger.
BUT! Nelson may not want to run at all. But if he does run, he wants to be pretty confident that he can win. If he runs against Governor Dave, his chances go waaaaaaayyy down. So if he has an inkling that Heineman will definitely get in, if he runs — well then he may just decide to hang it up.
But if he decides not to run, then Heineman doesn’t run… well then, dammit! Could he change his mind at that point? Wouldn’t seem likely (but geez, who knows).
So what this turns into is a game of high-stakes chicken — with the U.S. Senate on the line. Who veers to the right first? Or, in the “Rebel Without a Cause” version, who goes soaring off the cliff?
And we may as well get into it now, but what IF Heineman gets into the GOP Primary? What of the other candidates? Some commenters have weighed in here already.
We tend to agree with those who think Deb Fischer would probably drop out at that point. Just a guess, but that is our guess.
Now the other two candidates are just a bit different. Many had figured that Bruning’s real desire was to be Governor first anyway. It could possibly give him an out to run against Lt. Gov. — and then in theory, sitting Gov — Rick Sheehy, assuming it came to that. Or against Sheehy and Speaker Mike Flood! But would Bruning drop out altogether? Geez, he already made that move for Mike Johanns when Johanns ran for Senate.
We will watch Bruning cross that bridge when he comes to it, but the real wild-card would be Don Stenberg. The way Stenberg has been gobbling up national Tea Party endorsements lately, we just wouldn’t see him dropping out. Would Stenberg be willing to take one for the team and let Heineman have it? Would he be willing to lose ANOTHER race?
We dunno, but there are layers upon layers of intrigue here.
Hey, and while we are at it, WHO would the Dems put up?
Tony Raimondo? Anne Boyle? Some strange resurrection of Bob “The Bridge” Kerrey?
The mind boggles here.
But it all — much of it anyway — will be based on Nelson decision in a few weeks. Oh, and just about every single national Democrat will be harping on him to run. After having spent a couple million on free ads for him the past few months, to boot.
As Judge Smails said…
And while we are at it, State Treasurer (wait, State what?) Don Stenberg put out another ad. Well, actually the Tea Party guys put out an ad for him. See it here:
And you’re saying to yourself, Why in the world is Don Stenberg referencing the 1936 Olympics?
Well, because Jesse Owens was the star of those Olympics. And Don was a track star in his own right. Thus, the immediate Leavenworth Street Separated at Birth!
And speaking of only 19 more shopping days until Ben Nelson’s decision…how about you avoid some slaphappy mall rat sliding into your car in the mall parking lot? Slopping through the slush. Fighting shoulder to shoulder to get some counter attendant’s attention. (Shuuuuuuder!)
Here is a better idea: Click on one of the Amazon.com links here on LeavenworthSt.com and do your shopping whilst there on your butt. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem! And by going through Leavenworth Street, you send a little love back Leavenworth Street’s way — at no extra cost! Can’t do that at the mall.
It is a wonderful time to be alive.