We have always been of the opinion that more information is better than less, so with that let us start flailing away at what MAY happen, now that Ben Nelson has decided to retire rather than face the voters in 2012.
For the GOP…
Who IS in:
- Attorney General Jon Bruning (currently probably highest poll #s)
- State Treasurer Don Stenberg (has a strong base, getting national $$$)
- State Senator Deb Fischer (more or less unknown, can she raise $$$?)
- investment guy Pat Flynn (side note)
- dude Spencer Zimmerman (side show)
Who COULD be in:
- Governor Dave Heineman (but we just don’t think so…)
- Pinnacle Bank Pres. Sid Dinsdale (much more likely now)
- NE1, Lincoln area Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (hmm…more below)
- NE2 Omaha area Congressman Lee Terry (nope)
For the Dems…
- Former Governor, Senator, uber liberal New School Pres., Cosmic Bob Kerrey (with his current trial balloon for Senate, not to be confused with his trial balloon to run for 2008 Senate, not to be confused with his 2005 trial balloon to run for Mayor of New York City)
- State Senator Steve Lathrop (would prolly rather run for Governor in 2014; could be convinced?)
- former Lt. Gov. Kim Robak (her name is always thrown out; possible)
- Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler (not likely)
- State Senators Heath Mello or Bill Avery (Sac lambs)
- Bright Eyes lead singer Conor Oberst (national liberal Dems wet dream)
So, try this one on for size:
If Congressman Lee Terry or Jeff Fortenberry jumped into the Senate race, it would be a scramble of Mad Mad Mad Mad World proportions to get their seats. Well, certainly for Terry’s anyway.
But we understand that Terry has already considered this and is more content moving up in the House Leadership (where he should be a subcommittee chair soon).
But Fort? Well, we were directed to a certain retirement for some evidence of movement. Some have speculated that State Board of Education member Bob Evnen is exactly the type of person — good credentials on the issues — who could/would run for Fortenberry’s seat if Fort decided to drop out and run for Senate. Well, Evnen recently announced his decision to not run for reelection to the Board in 2013.
Or, if Fort jumps, maybe Unicameral Speaker Mike Flood? He could coast in, theoretically. But what if Dem Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler was interested? Well, then you could have a serious race.
Now, keep in mind this is pretty much pure speculation on our part (and our source’s part), but hey. If He didn’t want speculation on the internets, God should not have invented Al Gore.
And, we always suspected Governor Heineman was not really interested in running for Senate, so we are going to conclude that he is not interested in going forward. But hey, don’t quote us on that. With his knuckle-ball flying throughout the whole Keystone Pipeline debate, we never know where Heineman’s pitch is going to land. For all we can tell, this was his plan all along.
But we just don’t think so.
We are now of the opinion more than ever that Sid Dinsdale will get in the race. If the field expands, he could theoretically have just as good a chance as anyone — but he would need to get his name out there and raise big dough in a hurry.
And if the field does expand with another two or three serious candidates, that could leave an opening for someone like Stenberg — who has a pretty solid base to work with — to come through in the end.
Deb Fischer could have a some sort of a shot, but she would absolutely need to pick up the phone and be dialing, dialing, dialing for dollars. Small town newspaper articles will not win the race for her.
So that really still puts Attorney General Jon Bruning out front for the time being. If things really shake out further, his name could be just about anywhere.
NOW let the games begin.
And we should note that while it should be clear that we did not like the way Senator Nelson voted, we have stated numerous times here that just about anyone you ask liked Ben Nelson personally. He was the kind of guy that many liked getting a beer with, or so it was said.
Like him or hate him, he entered the arena and ran for Governor back when very few thought he had any chance to win. Had he not thought about it, you would be referencing former Governor (Senator?) Hoppner these days.
At some point, we will miss putting up his ubiquitous photo.