Who is fighting for Nebraska’s Senate seat?

South Carolina's Jim DeMint

Interesting article in The Hill today, talking about Nebraska’s combative GOP Senate primary, and how it pits different Senate backers against each other, depending on their candidate choice.

On the one hand, you have backers of Jon Bruning, who are characterized as the traditional GOP leadership. Then you have the Tea Party type “outsiders”, lead by South Carolina Jim DeMint, along with the Club for Growth who have backed Don Stenberg.

So the national press, as shown in The Hill’s article, therefore sees this race as some sort of ultra conservative outsider versus a liberal GOP insider. Tea Party against Good Ol’ Boys.

The Hill says,

Yet conservatives remain concerned about Bruning’s record, and the candidate has been dogged by questions over how he amassed personal wealth while serving in public office.

Except, no they don’t, and the OWH pretty much canned that other issue on Sunday.

Now if you want to say “Bruning’s opponents say that…”, well fine. But some suggestion that conservative Nebraskans don’t think Bruning is “conservative enough” is utter foolishness.

And any idea that Don Stenberg is some sort of “outsider” is a laugh. The state Tea Partiers are pretty evenly split on the candidates, and probably give plenty of allegiance to Deb Fischer and Pat Flynn as well. And ask any Democrat if they think there is a millimeter of difference between Stenberg and Bruning. Or if they would prefer Bruning to Stenberg.

We are sure that Stenberg has a case to make against the poll-leader Bruning — and we are not saying that either is preferred, by the way. But the suggestion that Bruning would cave taxes or earmarks or ObamaCare, and because of that national conservatives like DeMint should prefer Stenberg over Bruning is preposterous.

Why is South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint (who calls himself a “recovering earmarker“) pouring millions into Stenberg’s campaign? Because Don Stenberg is unable to raise that much money on his own. And Bruning does not NEED DeMint’s cash. And DeMint figures that if he goes full-hilt with Stenberg, Stenberg will forever owe him, and it will assist in DeMint’s Senate power grab.

That. Is. It.

So national commentators, know that while Don Stenberg would be a fine conservative Senator from Nebraska, all in all, other than his potential DeMint-iness, there would be little difference between him and Bruning on their votes. As far as this primary goes, Don Stenberg ain’t Marco Rubio, OK?


Hey look, if Bob Kerrey keeps talking about it, WE will keep talking about it.

Kerrey has TRIPLE-downed (can you do that?) on his “Even though no one else has suggested that we put troops on the ground and invade Iran, I don’t think we should do it!” mantra.

Kerrey writes in the Huffington Post:

It’s not front and center — yet. But there are folks in Washington building an under-the-radar case for an invasion right now, so I’m not waiting to speak out.

Mmm-hmm. Gotcha.

Look Bob, if you want to say there is a lot of talk about bombing Iran or even battling Iran on the seas, and you are against that, hey, have at it. (Though last time we checked, you are NOT saying that.)

You are saying, “No ground invasion!” And frankly everyone is looking at you going, “Uh, Bob, no one is suggesting that.”

Our guess this is a push by Kerrey to get the uber-libs off his back for Kerrey’s support of the Iraq invasion…which he supported. You know, the one in which he points to talk about all the troop loses, and how much worse it would be in the much bigger and more populous Iran. That would be the one which essentially doomed his gig at The New School and made all of his students hate him.

So we can see why Kerrey is pulling the whole, “Ohmygosh! An invasion of Iran would be HORRIBLE!” Oh, and nice description of that “under-the-radar” plan. Because quoting someone these days is so difficult.


And as we mentioned above that the OWH went through Bruning’s finances with a fine-toothed-comb and found zippo, the same cannot be said for Bob Kerrey.

Kerrey’s post-Senate money parade has yet to be given the thorough review that Bruning got from the OWH. But Nebraska Watchdog’s Deena Winter — our guess, working on her own and without the team of interns and economists that the OWH used — found many, many questions about Kerrey’s cash.

Be sure to read the whole thing here.

A few highlights:

• $800,000 in consulting fees in 2011 from the Sidney Kimmel Revocable Trust to help an Israeli company research cold fusion.

Nearly a million bucks for Kerry’s input…on cold fusion? Yeah? Really? I mean we don’t begrudge the guy money if someone wants to pay him, but WTF is going on there?

• Genworth Financial, an insurance company. Kerrey served on its board of directors from 2004 until he stepped down in March, earning between $160,000 and $215,000 annually.

Genworth tried to buy small, struggling banks in order to qualify for money from the federal bailout program, the Trouble Asset Relief Program. The Project on Government Oversight – a nonpartisan government watchdog group – was critical of the insurance company’s bid to buy banks, saying it was “trying to jump on the gravy train.”

We are sure there are many, many questions that can be raised about Kerrey’s post Senate cash. Wonder if Warren’s paper will put the resources into investigating Kerrey that they did on Bruning.


Have a great weekend, and take care of your Mom using our Amazon links up top!!!


  1. Lil Mac says:

    Be careful that the argument you are seemingly winning, isn’t actually helping your opponent.

    Democrat candidates are doubled over with cramps. But don’t assume that means Bob or Barry will necessarily go the way of Mr. Creosote. They may, but not if we as their critics continue to fall for the irrationalities and taunts the Democrats lay out as bait.

    Kerrey’s comments about invading Iran are purposeful. He’d rather have you talking about that nonsense than have you talking about the reality of Bob being a New Yorker running in a Nebraska race.

    Bob and Barry aren’t in good political shape. Much of what Barry touches turns to crap and Bob is running his race from the east coast. They need to muddy the truth for voters. And to do that, they need to sucker their critics off point. — In short, they need to get us arguing about their stupid stuff and bait us into the gutter. If they do that, then voters will only see just a blur of both sides throwing mud and talking about nonsense. If Democrat can blur the hard facts and reduce clarity, they hope voters will fall back onto Obama’s incumbency and Kerrey’s former positives as voters’ only way to judge amid all the sludge.

    Bob and Barry need you to play their game. Don’t play it. Stay on point.

  2. Macdaddy says:

    Lil Mac, it’s a long time until November and issues like Iran are kind of like time fillers. Kerrey definitely does not want to talk about issues that are important to Nebraskans because Democrats are on the wrong side all the time. The GOP has to be careful that they don’t wear people out by getting to the real issues too early. The danger for Kerrey, though, is that he tends to sound like a kook. He’s already given an affidavit in a lawsuit claiming that the Saudi government was behind 9/11. Maybe if we keep hitting him on Iran he’ll start talking about the military-industrial complex and how there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

  3. Anonymostly says:

    Lil Mac, that’s why I took the approach with those slogans I posted a few days ago of trying to pass along the message that this ain’t the same Bob Kerrey Nebraskans elected however many years ago. I mean, some of us might not have cared for him then and believed he was no less liberal then than he is now. And there may be some merit to that. But you’re arguing a point you aren’t likely to win. Accept the fact that he was elected and tell voters now that this isn’t the same old moderate, reach-across-the-aisles Bob Kerrey they might once have voted for. This guy is a raging liberal. And if you didn’t think he was before, there are plenty of reasons to know he is now.

  4. Anonymostly says:

    Lil Mac, when I say “you’re arguing a point” I didn’t mean YOU. I meant anyone who wants to win past elections rather than the present one. In other words, trying to convince people they were wrong about Kerrey all those years ago is a fool’s errand. The better approach, it seems to me, is to work on convincing people this ain’t the same guy they might once have believed they were able to trust.

  5. Mad Man says:

    Holy crap, Sweeper, what a load of shill!

    Should we be surprised? The only known contributor to this blog is a former Bruning campaign manager.

    As to the predictably snarky bs “thanks for reading” response, you can save it. I’m done. I’ll go to Fox News or MSNBC for more objective commentary.

  6. MM,

    OK. We get it. You think Jordan McGrain writes this blog. My, aren’t you the insider.
    Well, yes, Jordan, along with about 4 or 5 others have been attributed guest contributors over the years. Jordan did for the 2008 GOP convention. Wahoo for you.

    But beyond your standard grouse, do you have ANYTHING SPECIFIC to bitch about? What exactly do you find to be loaded with shill? Let’s hear it! I’d love to have that discussion.
    Instead you give the “oh my you’re so unfair!” whine heard countless times in this here comment section.
    Step up and say your peace, or, well…

    Oh, and thanks for reading.

  7. Macdaddy says:

    Who did Kerrey make this ad for? Judging by the comments on his HuffPo article, he’s going after the anti-Semites and tin foil hat crowd. Now that’s probably a good portion of the crowd he runs with in East Greenwich Village, or wherever the hell he lives, but I dare say it won’t rack up the votes in Nebraska.

    Bob Kerrey for Senate: Speaking “Truth” to Power

  8. Keebler Elvis says:

    Stenberg wouldn’t even be in this race if it wasn’t for DeMint. DeMint effectively bailed out his campaign and is the only one propping up his coffers to this day. Without DeMint, Stenberg has nothing. Bruning’s worked hard built a coalition state wide to win this campaign. That’s what it will take to beat Bob Kerrey.

  9. To SS says:

    It seems like all we talk about on here is about 60% Bob Kerrey and 40% about the other senate candidates. With the primary coming up is there any good local races to write something on, maybe a state legislature race. Just a suggestion.

  10. 3:22,
    Just so you know, we generally talk about stuff that is in the topically in the news.
    And the writing window these says is EXTREMELY limited.
    That said, I have publicly asked for candidates to send me info in order to write a short bio or whatever about them prior to the primary. To date, I’ve heard from exactly one.
    I’m not against writing about the leg races, but frankly I need the info sent to me, and a little show of interest from the audience. Both have been a tough get.

  11. Paula,
    See the OWH extremely detailed story from this past Sunday, here.
    They note that they:

    “reviewed hundreds of public documents related to his bank enterprises, mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit,”

    and they..

    “sought out private attorneys, finance professors and some of Bruning’s business associates to sort through the complexities of his holdings.”

    If that does not satisfy you, I’d suggest sending a direct Twitter message to his daughter.
    (It’s a joke!)

  12. To SS says:

    Thanks for the info. I think if I were a candidate I would be sending something in. All publicity is good publicity.

  13. RWP says:

    Deena Winter has a more detailed story about Kerrey’s financial affairs in the Washington Examiner. She says quite a bit about his involvement with Irving Dardik and his quack cold fusion ideas.

    Going viral, baybee!

  14. Jordan McGrain says:

    Hey Sweeper,

    I was happy to contribute to your National Convention coverage before, and am happy to do it again in 2012. I will get invited to much cooler parties this time, I’m sure of it. And there will be photos aplenty this time with my iPhone handy.

    Unless you want The Professor to go – seems he’s feeling left out today and he’s excellent on the twitter.

  15. Anonymostly says:

    Speaking of legislative races, Sweeps, what do you see as the key battleground districts this year? Looks like loads of libs lined up to try to turn Tony Fulton’s red seat blue in central Lincoln. Meanwhile can a conservative curtail Ken Haar? I see Kyle Michaelis is cruising for a bruising against Colby Coash. And, up in Omaha, Ernie Chambers appears to think a woman isn’t capable of filling his shoes. Clearly, he’s a sexist pig. How badly will he beat Brenda Council? Or will she turn the tables and thwart his challenge?

  16. Speculator says:

    Someone needs to tell Stenberg’s Club for Growth buddies in…God knows where…how to actually pronounce Senator Johanns’ name the next time they want to run an a radio ad out here in flyover country. It’s JO-hanns, not jo-HANNS, DC peeps.

    Tough to believe Stenberg’s supporters are that clued into much at all, let alone Neb-RAS-ka politics if they can’t even get this right.

  17. Anon says:

    Street Sweeper, this article is full of crap. I appreciate the effort to be level headed but……..come on!
    Bruning and Governor Heineman got caught up on some prolife issue and Tom Becka of KFAB took Bruning to task on it. Bruning also endorsed Eric Holder for Attorney General who has been a screw up.

    Half the reason people go to Deb Fischer and Pat Flynn is to avoid such lawyering and parsing of words as Bruning has done.
    Honestly, if this was just a race between Stenberg and Bruning, would it not be obvious Stenberg is the better candidate? Wake up!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hey Anon (Stenberg shill), Becka isn’t with KFAB anymore, he has a new show on KKAR that starts on Monday. And Becka has been going after Bruning for years, so nothing really new.

    It’s not obvious that Stenberg is the better candidate, for anything. He’s a spoiled brat; if he was that great, he would’ve already been elected a senator in any of the other 3 senate races he’s been in. Just because the out-state blue-hairs remember Don from 20 to 30 years ago, doesnt mean that he’s a good choice.

  19. Lil Mac says:

    SS, Dad, Anonymously, thanks. You make good points. My point, perhaps ill stated, sought to suggest it is dangerous folly to measure our wisdom by our foe’s apparent lack, as adjudged by our own limited view. — I wasn’t specifically thinking of you, Sweeper. If you don’t take Bob head on, what do we do here? Twiddle our fingers? Your work is vital. — My point was, take nothing for granted, especially our presumption that someone isn’t pulling our strings just because we somehow think we’d notice that. The essence of being played is, after all, one not knowing one is being played.

    Safety demands we assume anyone who can rise in power in a GOP conservative state as a liberal Democrat is feigning detachment and has a solid grasp of the unique thinking of the November voters who decide statewide elections. Maybe Bob’s odd behavior is due to NY weed. But the stakes are too high to assume that. My experience is with deadly matters and leaders being unaware of exactly why they do what they do. So, sure, bob and weave, keep him off balance. Land a few. But if he’s good, he makes us lean into his best shots and we don’t even know why.

    Political advertising and Madison Avenue were created by the Father of Public Relations who happened to be the nephew of the Father of Psychology; a coincidence that boils down to this: all smart educated people are vastly unaware of how susceptible they are to being manipulated without being aware they are being manipulated. And that includes us here. So let’s make sure the points we are hammering are going into Bob. and not entertaining Republicans or piercing ourselves in response to his misdirection. Just saying, stay frosty.

  20. Keebler Elvis says:

    Stenberg the better candidate? They guy who is running a bankrupt campaign and has to get welfare from Jim DeMint? He’s run an inept campaign that has been unable to grab any momentum or garner any support statewide. It’s a joke. Bruning’s gong to win on May 15, despite all this candidate welfare/bailout money coming from DC.

  21. outsider says:

    Stenberg is an outsider, because all he has are outsiders spending money to influence Nebraskans in this race and nobody likes him. Meanwhile Jon Bruning has a 93 county coalition and in state endorsements. When was the last time a Nebraskan endorsed Don Stenberg?

  22. Lil Mac says:

    “There are folks in Washington building an under-the-radar case for an invasion right now.”

    Ben’s holograms have been whispering to Bob again.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I got a push poll yesterday from some Dorky Don supporter, it sucked. It was so obviously slanted for the Dork.

    In the legislative races there should be a LOT of interest when you consider you have a few Senators who made by the skin of their teeth. Two of them support the killing of babies in the womb, Haar & Snowcow, and another enjoys killing business via organized labor Lathrop!

    Chambers is as phony as they come and should be soundly beaten by Council.

    Haar is the butt of jokes in and around the legislature.

    McCoy is going to put a whupin on Domina

    Coash is going to crush the lib shil

    And the drubbing will go on from there.

  24. Macdaddy says:

    Dick Holland is now claiming credit for the formation of Berkshire Hathaway, even though “some people in Omaha, of course, have other memories.”. I’m sure Jane Kleeb ( whatever happened to her? I guess outrage is hard to keep stoked) is probably thinking, “Like taking candy from a baby.”

  25. got the same push poll says:

    I was called about the same push poll from Don. What a joke. I can’t wait for Bruning to clean his clock and send all the terrible ads and other tactics from outsiders who support Don to whimper away. Only 16 days! Then we can finally focus on the main event: Bruning v. Kerrey.

  26. Lil Mac says:

    Don lost two races, one for AG, before he won AG. Then in 96 he ran for the Senate and lost to Republican Hagel, who went on to beat the crap out of Democrat Nelson, proving that Nelson was beatable.

    Yet, in 2000, Stenberg ran for then retiring Sen. Bob Kerrey’s Senate seat. Stenberg won the GOP primary with only 50% of the GOP vote. But Stenberg then lost the general election to Nelson, and by so losing, STENBERG PUT BEN NELSON INTO THE US SENATE.

    Republican Don Stenberg, in mostly Republican Nebraska, managed to put proven loser Democrat Ben Nelson into the US Senate in the same election in which George W. Bush easily won Nebraska. Even then, with all going for him, Don’s ineptitude was and now remains manifest.

    Today, in a horrible irony, Stenberg is still stabbing Republican opponents in hopes of Don running against Bob Kerrey for Ben Nelson’s vacated Senate seat; the Ben Nelson who is leaving the Senate in virtual disgrace, but who was put into Bob Kerrey’s Senate seat by Don Stenberg’s own ineptitude.

    Stenberg isn’t just a loser, he’s politically toxic; an aid and comfort to Democrats and a plague on Republicans everywhere.

  27. RWP says:

    Just A little before Don ran track for Nebraska, Bob Kerrey was voting to keep ‘negroes’ out of UNL fraternities and sororities. Negroes were too apathetic to care, said Bob. Just as long as you weren’t rude to them publicly, they were cool.

    Fortunately, the majority of the Student Council weren’t quite so medieval, and Bob got outvoted.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Cosmic Bob also pulled a I will vote against this and then voted for it move back in the day. As a matter of fact he was the DECIDING VOTE! What an IDIOT!

    Now what was it that Bobbi pulled the old switcheroo on? Hmmmmmmm Was it raising TAXES on ????

  29. Anonymous says:

    So Mello, Nordquist, Snowcow, and Haar have LEFT! ALEC because it is a “Right Wing” organization? Hmmm th 4 most committed LIBERALS LEFT an organization that doesn’t support their views, big deal. Now all that needs to be done is to introduce a new rule in thenLegislature to stop the practice of the State funding trips for the Senators, and the staff, to NCSL & CSG boon dongles. These two organizations get State support, TAX$$$$$, for them to spread their brand of what’s right.

    BUT……. the State does not fund any travel to ALEC EVENTS!!!! So to be FAIR. The state should no longer fund trips for senators OR STAFF to NCSL or CSG events.

    Where is Jack Gould on this??????? What a class act hypocrite both he and the OWH rag are.

    Oh and I am not a member of ALEC!!! Which by the way was until recently headed up by Senator Cornett, the one time Democrat turned Republican now looking to back to Democrat.

    Hey Senator Avery, where is your indignantion now?

  30. Macdaddy says:

    Lil Mac, doesn’t matter. If you’re a Democrat, you get a free pass on such things. Senator Byrd was revered on the Left and Obama even attended his funeral despite having formed his own KKK chapter while in his 20’s.

  31. RWP says:

    Lil Mac. It’s in more detail on my blog. Also, I have an electronic copy of the page from the Daily Nebraskan that reported the story. The date is January 14, 1965.

    Kerrey was a BMOC heavily supported by the frats and sororities. He was himself a Fiji. The frats and sororities didn’t want to admit ‘negroes’, and Bob was doing their bidding.

    I took the precaution of making copies of every DN story featuring Kerrey, who featured in more than one scandal at UNL. I wouldn’t want the remaining copies of the DN disappearing.

  32. Senator Snowplow says:

    Well, that’s all well and good. But you’re talking about 1965 here. Which is before I was born. And we all know that anything that happened that long ago is entirely irrelevant to the question of someone’s fitness to be in the U.S. Senate. By the way, did I mention that Bob is the only candidate from either party who is a decorated Vietnam War vet?

  33. Senator Snowplow says:

    Another thing, RWP, if this allegation is true, why haven’t any of the local news media picked up on the story? Huh? Answer me that one.

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