“So what is Dave Heineman going to do? Is he going to run? What are you hearing?”
And then, pretty much every other email going out of the Leavenworth Street outbox looks like this:
“Hey, what are you hearing about Heineman? What’s his plan? What are you hearing?”
And the replies, from both ends (as it were) are pretty much the same:
“No one knows anything…except Dave Heineman.”
1) Republicans (including Governor Dave Heineman) would like to see an easy Senate race and an easy win by a Republican in Nebraska.
2) Ben Nelson does not want to go out of the U.S. Senate a loser.
3) Heineman would beat Nelson in a head to head Senate race. (A recent poll had Heineman up 51% -33% over Nelson.)
4) If Nelson thinks there is a good chance Heineman will run, then he will not run.
5) Therefore, Heineman is trying his best to give an indication that if Nelson stays in he WILL run.
6) Many political observers believe that Heineman WOULD run if Nelson stays in, in order to give Republicans the majority in the Senate. And being a Senator isn’t a bad gig either.
7) Many also believe, that if Nelson decides NOT to run, Heineman would sit it out, and possibly hope for a gig in a Mitt Romney Administration, if it comes to that. Obviously, there is no guarantee that Romney will win the nom or the White House for that matter. But some think that Heineman was genuine when he originally said he wasn’t interested in being a Senator, and if he won the election, he would be serving for love of country, as opposed to love of power. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
8) Some have speculated that Heineman would not mind being Romney’s Vice Presidential choice, should it come to that. While some laugh at the prospect of a VP nominee from a small state, others would point to VP nominees from Wyoming, Alaska and Delaware — states not exactly rich in Electoral Votes. Not that the selection of a very popular and successful Governor who is also a West Point grad would be a strange choice, but stranger choices have certainly been made.
9) The concept of Heineman hinting he would run if Nelson runs, then Nelson deciding not to run, then Heineman deciding not to run, lines up in our giant Game of Chicken between Nelson and Heineman that we spelled out a couple days ago.
10) Don Walton of the LJS pointed out that the 200 pound gorilla matchups rarely occur in Nebraska politics. But, like imagining what you would do with your lottery winnings, it’s fun to dream…
Following up, here are the local news stories about Heineman thinking about running in…
The (newly owned by Warren Buffett!) Omaha World Herald – Heineman Weighs Senate bid
The Lincoln Journal Star – Heineman only ‘listening’ to appeals for Senate run
Nebraska Watchdog – Heineman Keeps Senate Bid at Bay, which includes the following video from the Heineman presser:
Here are the national stories on the subject of Nelson deciding and Heineman thinking about it in…
The New York Times (which started it all) – Waiting for a Decision in Nebraska
Politico – Top Dems fret over Ben Nelson’s plans
National Journal Hotline – Democrats Work To Defend Nebraska Senate Seat
That last article contains this quote:
“My take based on talking to a lot of people is he is not that serious about it. He does not have interest in it. … It hasn’t really impacted the campaign at all,” said a Republican source close to Bruning’s campaign of the Heineman speculation.
And then, this morning, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) the titular head of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus — who has endorsed Don Stenberg — said this in Roll Call about the NRSC’s overtures to Heineman:
“Obviously I’m just disappointed that the party folks in Washington think they need to recruit someone else,” DeMint, who supports another GOP candidate in the race, said in an interview Tuesday. “Nebraska is a race the Republicans should win. … There are some good candidates in that race already.”
“I’ve already talked to (NRSC head Sen.) John (Cornyn) about it and let him know that grass roots around the country are concerned that party folks up here” are trying to meddle in the Nebraska primary, DeMint said. “We have a good relationship, but we disagree on this particular race. But it’s just going to make me work that much harder.”
And that’s nice and all, but c’mon. DeMint claims to head the “grassroots” Tea Party, so that means there is some sort of grassroots effort in Nebraska for Stenberg? That’s laughable.
Not to take anything away from Stenberg — who has done a heckuva job of late compiling national support and money — but his poll numbers are not stellar against Nelson, to whom he has already lost a Senate race. To be clear, we think Stenberg is a better candidate than Nelson. But who do you really think Nebraskans — particularly Nebraska Republicans and Independents — would rally around in a race against Nelson? State Treasurer Don Stenberg or Governor Dave Heineman?
We know that answer, Cornyn knows that answer, and our guess is that DeMint knows that answer too. But he didn’t get to crown Heineman. So there’s that.
How’s that for a roundup, readers?
Now back to your regularly scheduled Keystone XL Pipeline Watch, this time featuring Congressman Lee Terry summing the debate all up rather nicely for the Washington Times (and using the term “Hydrocarbons” more than we’ve ever heard it used):
Oh, and Hydrocarbons.
“Herbie doesn’t like to make toys!”
“Herbiedoesn’tliketomaketoys! Herbiedoesn’tliketomaketoys! Herbiedoesn’tliketomaketoys! Herbiedoesn’tliketomaketoys!”
“Do you mind telling me what you DO wanna do?”
“Well sir, someday, I’d like to…BUY the toys on Amazon.com via Leavenworth Street’s Amazon links! That way, I can send some (anonymous) love back to Leavenworth Street, at no extra cost to me!”
And Thanks to all you Herbies out there.