Heineman vs Nelson: The race so far

Pretty much any email we get here at the Leavenworth Street international headquarters looks like this:

“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.”


But for those particularly from the DC area and politicos across the Fruited Plain, the local CW is this:

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.


  1. RWP says:

    Can’t see Heineman as VP choice. There are so many better alternatives; Marco Rubio, for one. If Romney’s the nominee, he needs a real red-blooded conservative to balance the ticket. Heineman isn’t that.

    If Gingrich is the nominee (as is looking more and more likely) who knows? Gingrich’s best running mate would be a nice tight muzzle, to keep his foot out of his mouth.

  2. NE Voter says:

    First, let’s dispense with this Heineman-For-VP nonsense. SS, you aren’t seriously suggesting that Cheney was a true blue Wyoming guy? As for Palin and Alaska, the small population had nothing to do with her selection as McCain’s running mate. She was the first woman on a GOP presidential ticket, and added much needed sizzle to McCain’s drab and downbeat campaign. Make no mistake, Palin is an idiot, but she is a hot idiot. Finally, as for Biden and Delaware, Biden was chosen because Obama needed (1) a guy who knows where all the landmines are in Washington and (2) sadly, a reassuring and familiar caucasion insider on his ticket.

    Heineman brings nothing to a Flip Flopney or Gingrich (please, God!) ticket. Nationally, he is a complete unknown. Moreover, his West Point experience would actually reflect negatively on Flopney and Gingrich, who each somehow (cough) avoided military service. Finally, as I mentioned yesterday, Heineman brings nothing in terms of EVs. The GOP nominee will bag 4 or perhaps all 5 of Nebraska’s EVs with or without Tinyman on the ballot.

    Second, Heineman’s decision on the Senate race has nothing to do with whether or not Nelson seeks reelection. It’s well known that there is a lot of bad blood between Tiny and Bruning (who foolishly backed Osborne in the 2006 gubernatorial primary — he should have stayed out of it). No way in Hades that Heineman would want to bluff Nelson into retiring and essentially hand the seat to the incompetent and corrupt Bruning.

  3. All,

    I don’t think it is particularly likely that Heineman would be a VP pick either. But mainly for RWP’s reasoning above, that there are other more likely choices. That being said, DH is a popular governor with a good record and story, and if it did happen, there could and have been many worse choices. And NEVoter, you’ll have to tell me all about the Obama-Biden war record, and their experience. And please, keep it all pre-politics, like you’re applying to the GOP.

    Further, your speculation that Heineman is doing this to keep Bruning out is silly. If that were the case, he would have run back when the nom was his for the taking. There are likely other factors at work here, but pure “spite” ain’t one of them.

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. you are right Sweeper says:

    That video above about the keystone was very dynamic. In the year or so I have followed this sight you have NEVER had anything negative on him. Even no mention of robocall bill. why do agree with everything he does

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well sad Sweep. To be sure there are a whole lot of moving parts to this election cycle. I just want to see the Dem’s get the snot kicked out of them AGAIN:-) To have the White house, Senate, and Super Majority in the house all the way down to the Legislatures across the country. This way constitutionally sound judges can be appointed AND sworn in. The NRLB can be disolved along
    with the Dept of Ed and EPA.

    Then hearings can get underway to clean out the SEIU, ACORN derivatives, AFL-CIO, and the public sector unions to include the national teachers union.

    I also think there are some R’s who need to go so we need to pick up some governorships too so the
    appointees are RIGHT too:-) Then the whole lot needs to be watched very, very carefully!

    Goodbye Sen Nelson et al:-)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey if we are cleaning house then lets be sure to get rid of State Senators Haar, & Cook. Does Cook even live in the district yet? Can’t wait until Ashford, Cornett (RHINO’S), Avery, & Lathrop are gone too:-) 2015 looks to be a wonderful year:-)

  7. RWP says:

    NE Voter:

    Romney ‘avoided’ military service by having a high number (300) in the draft lottery. He probably helped himself by arranging to be born in December. Crafty guy.

  8. NE Voter says:

    RWP, thanks for the tidbit. As for Biden, he was not qualified due to a health issue (asthma, I think).

    Lizzie, I just tell it like it is.

  9. Oh Mander says:

    Speaking of keeping it classy, Gingrich avoided military service through a combination of marraige and education deferments. He married his high school geometry teacher and had her pay for his college tuition. Whatever happened to her, anyways? Are they still together?

  10. Some Thoughts says:

    I agree with RWP that Heineman seems like a very unlikely VP choice, when Romney really needs to carry several big electoral-vote states. However, I don’t think he needs a far-right running mate, because the far-right base is already incredibly motivated to get out to the polls and oust Obama. They may not want Romney to win the nomination, but they’d definitely take him over Obama, including the ones who are suspicious of his Mormonism.

    Totally agree with RWP about Gingrich. Oh, brother, it’s like seeing a zombie come back from the deep! There are so many bright, interesting conservativates out there, and Republicans pick HIM? Don’t they want to win? Personally, I like Huntsman very much, and didn’t think he had a snowball’s chance, but maybe voters will start to realize he’s more conservative by far than Romney. And yes, he’s much smarter than Gingrich.

  11. RWP says:

    Actually, Gingrich was deferred because he was a father, not because he was married. You support drafting the fathers of infants and sending them off to war?

  12. Anonymostly says:

    If Pearl Harbor had been attacked today rather than 70 years ago, the party of Roosevelt would be sitting around wondering why the Japanese hate us so much. Instead of declaring war, they’d be printing up bumper stickers as fast as they could with such non-cliches as “War is Not the Answer” or “Give Peace a Chance” or “Try Diplomacy for a Change.” (And, let’s be honest, they’d be blaming the Jews.) Thanks all you vets out there, especially those of the greatest generation ever. Thanks for showing everyone how badly subsequent generations have sucked.

  13. Street Sweeper how dare you says:

    You cannot create a legal tender with the Gov. Heiniman’s face on it. People are going to know it is fake. If this is your idea of quantitative easing to monetize away our nation’s heavy debt burden, it will NOT work. Your newly created Heina-bucks will not be an accepted form of currency.

    It is disturbing that you have such a short memory. One only has to look back a few years at RWP failed experiment. RWP tried to (and failed miserably I might add) to create Nerd-bucks in lieu of the U.S. Dollar. This resulted in a slight increase in U.S. protractor sales but otherwise was a colossal failure.

    I implore you to use RWP’s “Nerd Bucks” as a cautionary tale before creating more Heina-Bucks.

  14. 7:12,
    All longtime L.St. readers know that Heineman Quarter was created back in 2006, when Governor Dave won the PotY.
    Click the coin to jog your memory.
    Worked then. It’ll work now.

  15. KETV's Website says:

    c’mon guys there is more pointless banter articles on this website than the uber-cluttered ketv.com. Who writes this junk anyways? And the point is? If I wanted a headache in the past I’d try to find a u-local-radar on ketv’s web page. Now i have to contend with whoever pens these swiss cheese like op-eds. my doctor and major pharms thank you.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anonymostly @ 6:22 PM
    If Pearl Harbor had been attacked today rather than 70 years ago, the party of Willkie would be hiring the Japanese to bomb Los Angeles. Instead of declaring war, they’d be printing up bumper stickers as fast as they could with such non-cliches as “War First, War Always” or “Give War a Chance” or “Try Bombing for a Change.” (And, let’s be honest, they’d be blaming the Mexicans.) Thanks all you draft dodgers out there, especially those on Fox News and talk radio. Thanks for showing everyone how badly subsequent generations have sucked, especially the Republicans that want us to be exactly like the Third Reich.

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