2013 Leavenworth St. Nebraska Politician of the Year

by Street Sweeper on January 2, 2014

So it’s January 2nd, 2014, and we’re still writing about 2013. You got a problem with that? That’s such 2013 thinking! You probably thought that while you were “twerking” and reading Newsweek. Well this is 2014! And this is the way we do things! So read on! (And we’ll give you a little 2014 at the end).

***

Jean Stothert 102The 2013 Leavenworth St. Nebraska Politician of the Year is Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

As many noted, this was pretty much a lock.

A few things about Stothert, who defeated incumbent Mayor Jim Suttle in May, to become the first female Mayor of Nebraska’s largest city:

  • U.S. Senator Deb Fischer had lost the city of Omaha by 15% just 6 months prior
  • Stothert had a relatively limited political history prior to her run for Mayor
  • The Republican clobbered Suttle by 15% — in a city that has a 10% majority of Democrats
  • Stothert also demolished her GOP opponents (sorry guys) in the primary, taking 32% in the 5-way race
  • She was the first mayor elected without police or fire union support in 40 years

Stothert has continued to make waves and is establishing her political power.

We see her as a force to reckon with in years to come.

That makes her our Pol of the Year.

***

So who else?
Who else indeed!

We went back and read every post from 2013.
And what was the overriding theme?

“I am NOT going to run!”

So who comes in a gigantic 2nd place for the also-rans for PotY?
Those who decided NOT to run — for Governor, for Senate and for House.

Let’s take a look:

In the Gov’s race, where Governor Dave Heineman canNOT run again…

Well, there was Rick Sheehy — whom Heineman had already endorsed! — who quit his own office of Lt. Governor before quitting the Governor’s race.

Then there was the thought-to-be front runner Speaker Mike Flood, who had dropped out in December 2012, was thought by MANY to be back in the race (not just us, kiddos) then announced in July that he was definitely out.

Who else?
Tim Clare – out before he was in.
Jon Bruning – out in early January, then making it clear he was definitely out in back in in October
Dave Kramer – out before he was in in February
Bob Krist – made some in moves, before saying he was out
Charles Herbster – a relative unknown who was thought to have been a force, before dropping out and throwing his weight behind Beau McCoy
Matt Williams – who? yeah, he was out before he was in.

And then the Democrats too!
Remember when Steve Lathrop did his statewide listening tour? Yeah, guess he didn’t like what he was hearing.
And then Annette Dubas, who had racked up an impressive (for a Dem) list of endorsements dropped.
(And of course, we wait to see what Bob Kerrey thinks before we etch Chuck Hassebrook’s name in…)

***

But it wasn’t just the Gov’s race, of course.

The biggest drop-out of the Senate race was…Senator Mike Johanns himself, who decided not to run.

And then while many jumped in, don’t forget that really no one was making a move until Governor Dave Heineman made his intentions known.

Then Jeff Fortenberry made his decision right after Heineman dropped.
Former Creighton Law Dean Pat Borchers was in, then out.
Rex Fisher was out before he was in.

And for the Dems, we still don’t know whether Dave Domina is in or out — and we assume that Brad Ashford is out.

***

And then there was Nebraska’s 2nd District House seat.

Democrat City Councilman Pete Festersen was definitely out.
Oh unless he is IN!
Or unless he is out.
Yeah, that’s what we thought.

***

Other fun from 2013?
Remember Omaha City Councilman Chris Jerram’s Jean Stothert t-shirt?
Many,many of you discovered it here on L.St.

And then here’s a bonus question:
Quick, NAME Nebraska’s Lieutenant Governor!
(Chuckle.)
Click here for the answer.

***

So that was 2013. Fun stuff eh?
So shall we dive into 2014? Sure, why not.

So the OWH did another glowing article on Tom Brewer’s primary run against 3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith.

The story notes that Brewer has lived in the 1st District for 20 years.
Brewer says he has no beef with ANY of Smith’s votes.
Doesn’t list a one.
BUT, he says that Smith “parrots” the GOP line.
And Brewer says he’s qualified to run for Congress because of his military record — says to hire the “best qualified”.

Hmm.
OK. Let’s just note that Smith is a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee — considered to be the most powerful committee in the House.

And note that Brewer touts his military credentials, and has lived in the 1st District for TWENTY YEARS — but doesn’t seem to have an interest in serving in the District that houses STRATCOM.

And then, Brewer goes on about Smith only following the party line — but in arguably the most significant party-line vote of the year — the Ryan-Murray budget vote — Smith went AGAINST the leadership.
(Note that, again, 1st District Congressman Jeff Fortenberry voted with the leadership.)

And then today Fort says that ObamaCare is here to stay, while Brewer says that repeal of it would be his focus (a position we are sure he shares with Adrian Smith).

This isn’t to say that Brewer should have primaried Fort.
But it would have made more sense.
At least as far as how Brewer is positioning himself.

(Oh, and while we understand that Brewer didn’t want a “desk-job” in the Army, we would just note that a Congressional seat doesn’t exactly involve hand-to-hand combat either…)

***

This should be a fun year, politically, yeah?
Got something to buy on Amazon.com? Click up top.
Thanks and Happy New Year!

{ 64 comments }

1 Gaius Gracchus January 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Stothert has done a tolerable job as mayor. It is not too early to ask if the mayor will run for another term, or if she’s fixed her time in office. Who else would make a good mayor?

2 Macdaddy January 2, 2014 at 11:03 AM

SS, you just wanted to run that picture of Stothert again. ;)

BTW, by the end of today, 306 people will have lost their lives under Obamacare for lack of health insurance and that includes 5 people who died because Obamacare kicked them off of insurance and wouldn’t let them sign back up. Get ready libs. The body count is skyrocketing because of Dear Leader’s incompetence and malfeasance. 153 people every day. I think Obama ought to send a hand-written apology to each and every family who lost a loved one because of his belief that America sucks and needs a radical change.

3 JK January 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Good call on this pick.

Let’s face it: in more than just a few ways, Mrs. Stothert has got it goin’ on.

4 Street Sweeper January 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

MD,
We actually have another we wanted to use, but are having upload issues and had to go with the standby. We’ll see if we can get the new one up, just for you.
-Ed.

5 Street Sweeper January 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

New Stothert pic is now up.
-Ed.

6 TexasAnnie January 2, 2014 at 11:50 AM

How bizarre that Macdaddy believes 156 people will die each and every day for lack of insurance!

I guess he doesn’t realize health care has been and is FREE to the uninsured because those of us who have and have had insurance have been covering their cost through our own higher premiums.
No one need worry about being denied life-saving treatment in emergency rooms across America.
It’s not gonna’ be like those Beatrice State Developmental Center deaths wherein Nebraskans REALLY did die because the Governor and Unicameral DID WITHHOLD LIFE-SAVING TREATMENT!

7 Ed S aka Uncle Wiggily January 2, 2014 at 12:21 PM

” … a Congressional seat doesn’t exactly involve hand-to-hand combat…”

Anybody else think we might be better off if it did?

8 Anonymous January 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Much better professional photo.

9 Anonymous January 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM

the new photo is much less flattering. Mr. Sweeper, tear down this photograph.

10 Gerard Harbison January 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Let me step out on a limb here. I see no evidence a 36 year career in the military qualifies one to work in the legislative branch. Quite the opposite; the Army is hierarchical and bureaucratic; the House is anarchic and parliamentary. they’re 180° different. What’s he going to do, draft law? What experience does he have doing that? I’ve been looking at ‘leadership seminars’ and ‘leadership courses’ for 20 years at UNL, and as far as I can tell you can shorten the title considerably by replacing ‘leadership’ with ‘BS’. Where else can you say “I was 36 years doing job X; it qualifies me for job Y, which is utterly different?’

Tammy Duckworth is a military veteran, seriously wounded in combat. She’s also a horrible congresswoman. John Kerry is a military veteran, scratched several times in combat. Bob Kerrey is a military veteran, seriously wounded in combat. I thank all of them for their service in combat; however, I’d love them all a lot more had they all served their time, come home and collected their pensions.

As far as I can tell, Brewer’s campaign is ‘I’ll vote just like Adrian Smith, but I WAS IN THE ARMY!’. He supports bioethanol. That’s not courage, it’s shameless pandering to an industry that is powerful in Nebraska but is an albatross around the US neck. He doesn’t like Obamacare; lovely, I can read the poll numbers too.

11 The Dan Parsons Project January 2, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Sweeper don’t confuse Brewer with logic. Dan the man has a plan. Unfortunately for his candidate it’s a loosing strategy. Going after The Fort would have been more realistic or hell run for Auditor. No one of significance is running in that race

12 Dan Parsons Project Groupie January 2, 2014 at 2:46 PM

I’ll be voting for Pete Pirsch.

13 J.J. Kid Dynomite January 2, 2014 at 3:03 PM

I take offense as I took the photo.

14 Macdaddy January 2, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Oh, I wasn’t complaining, SS. You can put the old one back up.

TA, I am not arguing those numbers. The democrats argued those numbers when they were trying to pass Obamacare. I’m just trying to get them to live up to their own standards. They are failing and real people are dying because of their hare-brained scheme.

15 Stretch January 2, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Stothert as PoY for 2013 is a no-brainer given all of the aforementioned reasons.

However, the comparison between Senator Fischer losing in Omaha to former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey in a high turnout Presidential General election and Stothert’s ousting of a highly unpopular Omaha Mayor in an off-year, lower turnout municipal race is a STRETCH even for you Sweeper!

16 Hesdeadjim January 2, 2014 at 4:58 PM

I once made the mistake of calling ethanol what it is… a farce… around a group of conservative farmers in south central Nebraska. Those old men agreed with me in virtually every aspect of politics, but after I mentioned the facts that ethanol can’t compete in the free market with gasoline and is energy negative, and therefor inferior, I became an outcast.

I love the overt hypocrisy of the third (and parts of the 1st) district. They’re tried and true conservatives until you bring up subsidies, and don’t even get me started on soybeans!

17 Anonymous January 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Massive disappointment that Launtenbaugh wasn’t chosen. He tried so hard. What’s up with his latest MUDdy ideas now for higher taxes? He must be positioning now that he’s termed out, but why would he be getting all that campaign money when he didn’t have a re-election office to run for? Uh oh. Maybe he’s positioning a run for another office and that’s why he’s out grabbing headlines and spotlights. Ya think?

18 Omaha Voter January 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Jean was a great choice. She really kicked Suttle’s ass!!!!!!!!!

19 Billy January 2, 2014 at 6:53 PM

I glad the Latenbaugh showed who he is, as Mcgill did. It would be good if we had some other people running for these local/state offices instead of retreads, but is their system, and as it goes it pretty much sucks

20 To Billy January 2, 2014 at 6:57 PM

I hear another Republican is running for Auditor. You will have other choices besides McGill and Pirsch.

21 Anonymous January 2, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Yeah, Gerard, renting out a few boxes for people to stuff their old sofas in is certainly better training than overseeing hundreds, or thousands, of troops and all the logistics they need for support. Anyone that has risen to the upper ranks in the military is obviously a worthless rubber stamp.

Wait a minute ………. isn’t that why we keep re-electing that pretty boy from Gering?

22 To Anonymous Above January 2, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Is the law practice in Lincoln not working out?

23 Amazed January 2, 2014 at 10:49 PM

I was impressed by Jean’s victory. She stopped a 12 year Democrat winning streak. Go Jean!

24 Welch Supporter January 2, 2014 at 11:25 PM

I have to take my hat off to Jean. She did a great job.

25 Gerard Harbison January 3, 2014 at 7:33 AM

@8:38. Of course, no one said he was a worthless rubber stamp. Try arguing with what I wrote.

I’m looking at his bio. Has he ever commanded a battalion? All his work seems to be staff stuff (training, liaisons, etc).

Whatever Smith’s history when he went in, he’s served as legislative page, Gering City Councillor, two terms in the Unicam, and 3 full terms in Congress.

26 Macdaddy January 3, 2014 at 8:16 AM

459. RIP.

27 Macdaddy January 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Gaaah! I shouldn’t do math hung-over. It’s actually 164 people a day with 13 of them because Obama cancelled their insurance. We’re already at 492, 3 days in. At what point does this qualify as a tragedy? When does it become horrific?

28 Gerard Harbison January 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

So Brewer is anti-Keystone XL and pro-Medicaid expansion. He doesn’t even rise to the level of RINO. He’s Jane Kleeb in army boots. He’s registered for the wrong primary.

Brewer spent a lot of his time recently as a drug warrior, and in particular was involved in the failed attempt to suppress Afghan heroin production.

BTW, for you health-care geeks out there: Avik Roy and Megan McArdle both have columns today on the new results from the Oregon Medicaid expansion. Contrary to the claims of Norquist, Campbell and the other RINOs in Nebraska, Medicaid expansion didn’t decrease the number of emergency room visits. it increased them. New enrollees in the expanded Medicaid program didn’t get a primary care physician, as those who claimed it would cut costs wanted. Intead, they started turning up at the ER with colds and sore throats, knowing Medicaid would pay.

29 The Outsiders January 3, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Starring Ben Sasse as Pony Boy.

30 Random Thoughts...Not by Jack Handy January 3, 2014 at 4:10 PM

So Quarter of a Million dollars from an outside group for pretty by Ben to run here…more proof he is an outsider.

31 Definition of Outsider January 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Carpetbagger, just ask Bob Kerrey.

32 Outsider? January 3, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Col. Brewer spent a lot of time on the other side of the world defending the right of you idiots back here to kick him in the nuts. Maybe he should just go home and let the 3rd CD have the representation it deserves, a barely successful storage rental tycoon. Had Adrian not gotten into politics, he’d probably be living on welfare by now, and y’all would be throwing bricks at him.

33 Gerard Harbison January 3, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Actually he spent time in Afghanistan training an Afghan Army that will surrender to the Taliban as soon as we leave, and working on a failed drug suppression program. Please explain how either has aided any of us.

34 City of Blair January 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM

So Ben Sasse is now a part time employee of Midland? When is he going to raise the money he promised to reopen the Dana Campus????

35 The Tax Man January 3, 2014 at 9:41 PM

This Midland arrangement seems fishy. You pay for a president that doesn’t work? Is that allowed under Midland’s tax status?

36 To The Tax Man January 3, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Midland is under Accreditation scrutiny and Sasse is not even working full time? What are the Trustees thinking? Midland has serious issues and they do this!

37 Oh my goodness January 4, 2014 at 7:31 AM

I must have missed it. Did Dinsdale step down as President of Pinnacle Bank? Did Osborn step down from CAVU (where he made $764,000) and Silverstone — oh and is he still working for the Republic of Chad (one of the worst human rights countries in the world). At least Sasse is handing over many of his duties to this “chairman’s cabinet” so the day-to-day stuff isn’t impacted by his run. Seems to me that McLeay is the only one who has actually given up his day job.

Oh, and what about McCoy, Janssen, and Carlson run for Governor and still be state senators full-time — don’t the taxpayers demand that they step down. What about Foley, how can he audit and be a candidate?

NEWS FLASH FOLKS: PEOPLE CAN WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME!!!

38 Macdaddy January 4, 2014 at 9:23 AM

RWP, keep in mind that this was in enlightened, educated, progressive Oregon where the people only lack the opportunities to do the right thing through no fault of their own. Once given that opportunity, they behave like…Missourans.

Another 164 people died today from deficiencies in Obamacare. At this rate we will have surpassed the death rate in Iraq and Afghanistan by Valentine’s Day. By Mother’s Day we can throw all the people killed by drunk drivers into the mix.

39 @37 January 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM

The difference with everyone else v. Sasse is apparently Ben couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Midland is a mess and Ben will not be able to hide it for much longer.

It would be like Dinsdale bankrupting his bank and then deciding to run for U.S. Senate. Makes sense to me!

40 Interested Observer January 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM

What are the names of all these dead people?

41 Lil Mac January 4, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Brewer’s positions on issues indeed matter. And Smith being on Ways and Means is indeed a big plus for Nebraskans. But the idea that a Colonel has no grasp of politics is simply wrong.

When these discussions move toward the nature of military service as it applies to political office, ignorance squirts out on all sides. That’s understandable because most Americans never serve in the military and of the few who do serve most of them never rise above enlisted or junior officer ranks and do not experience the cutthroat politics and intense policymaking of senior military service that results in dead people and victory or defeat, done amid a cacophony of competing careerist interests and dangerously subtle politic demands for alternatives. By comparison, arguably, the lazy show-up-and-vote corporate policymaking of the House and Senate is child’s play. Senior military politics is Congress on steroids.

To say Colonel Brewer just follows orders in the Army is like saying Rep. Smith decides nothing on Ways and Means but simply gets his orders from the Minority Leader. They aren’t robots. In my experience, the average senior military officer is far more politically nuanced, experienced and thus fit for elective office than the average paper pushing lawyer. But that isn’t apparent if your knowledge base boils down to Tom Hanks movies and Tom Clancy novels.

However, we must keep this in perspective. Because Brewer’s readiness for congressional work doesn’t outweigh Smith’s current Ways and Means position or whatever might be Brewer’s actual thoughts on policy issues. Smith has some real solids and Brewer some holes yet to fill and Brewer knows it.

The real question is which one embraces the policies we personally are most willing to suffer being shoved up our own arse as law. Or, to rephrase that for our governmentalists, which pudding of benevolent largess you prefer to be spoon fed. Chances are, we will all end up with cramps anyway.

42 To Oh My Goodness January 4, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Did Ben Sasse promise the people of Blair he was going to open Dana’s campus back up??? Funny how he has gone dark on that issue. The guy is all hat and no cattle.

43 Ed S aka Uncle Wiggily January 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM

#41 – I think you mean “majority” leader. Last time I checked Rancid Nancy is still the minority leader and no matter how timorous Adrian may appear, I seriously doubt he takes orders from her.

Other than that, kudos on a very sensible post – we’re not used to seeing rational positions calmly stated here.

I admit I am troubled by Brewer’s recent puzzling statement regarding the Keystone pipeline, but I’ll reserve judgement for a few days to see if he walks it back. Maybe he was just trying to appear open-minded … ?

44 Not Jane Kleeb January 4, 2014 at 12:01 PM

If Brewer does not support Keystone, he will have the endorsement of me and my Bold Nebraska.

45 Lil Mac January 4, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Thanks UW. Had some brain freeze. I meant that other Minority leader, the one with the Majority.

As for Brewer’s keystone statement, I don’t know either. He is from a tribe and that comes with its own mindset. We can wait and see. In any case, its not going to be like Bob gutting Chuck. That was some ugly stuff. I think Brewer is serious but he is also dipping his toe.

46 Shane January 4, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Thank you Fred Davis. That was 100k well spent. Lol

47 UNO grad January 4, 2014 at 11:10 PM

I watched the Ben Sasse video. The “I wrestled at Harvard” line was not impressive. This guy is so East Coast it’s not funny.

48 Anonymous January 5, 2014 at 12:07 AM

Even Speaker Boehner is fed up with the likes of representatives that do the bidding of Club for Growth, and Adrian Smith is so deep in their pockets that he only does what is good for them, NOT what is good for Nebraskans. Adrian Smith being on an important committee is good for Club for Growth and not much else.

49 Pete January 5, 2014 at 2:33 AM

I’m okay with a little more club for growth and a little less John Boehner at this point.

50 Ed S aka Uncle Wiggily January 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Just curious, #48 …exactly what is it that so irks you about the CFG? I note that it has become very fashionable to derogate the Club here and elsewhere, but the complaints I see are woefully short on specifics. As far as I can tell, they advocate for free markets, federal de-regulation, pro-growth tax policy, tort reform (especially in the medical area), and general fiscal conservatism. What’s not to like? Do you have specifics? I’d be interested in hearing them.

51 Ed S aka Uncle Wiggily January 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

… and by the way, Adrian’s “score” with the CFG (by their own records) is currently less that 70 – which means that he voted “with” the CFG less than 70% of the time last session. Not sure if that qualifies as “deep in their pockets”.

52 Hairy Truman January 5, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Club for Hair Growth serves mostly Republican men. Statically speaking, Democrat men typically have more bushy heads of hair. You can look it up. But also look up what triggers normal male baldness and then perhaps things start to fall into place; such as why Democrat men are so sensitive to one’s feelings and why the women on Fox tend to be sexy while women on MSNBC look like William Bendix in need of a shave.

The males and females of the leftist species apparently have their hormones reversed. However, all that bushy male hair parted on left may not be due to excessive production of estrogen but rather may exist for the same reason that a twin castrated in a mental hospital as a child will keep a full head of hair while his fully equipped brother on the outside goes entirely bald.

Come on. Don’t act so shocked. You suspected this all along.

53 Macdaddy January 5, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Speaker Boehner shouldn’t be Speaker anymore. He clearly doesn’t have the disposition for it. It’s time for someone new and he shouldn’t run for the post this fall. And no, I’m not hoping for the RATS to take over and anoint Rancid Nancy (I love that, UW) to be Obama’s handmaiden again.

54 Anonymous January 5, 2014 at 10:51 PM

Adrian Smith for Speaker of the House! It is time for him to come out of the closet and reveal himself for the leader that he is.

55 To the Ahole above January 5, 2014 at 11:08 PM

So does Tom Osborne share your sentiment

56 GLAAD January 5, 2014 at 11:43 PM

We support Smith for speaker

57 Somewhere in Middle America January 6, 2014 at 1:04 AM

Yeah, that will really help the GOP broaden its base with young voters. Let’s go after Smith because somebody said somebody thinks he’s gay. Unless he’s hurting a kid, his sex life is his business. Good call on Mayor Stothert as the politician of the year. She has done a nice job so far.

58 Anonymous January 6, 2014 at 4:10 AM

Somebody in Smith’s camp once said that Scott Kleeb was gay. See how it works?

59 TexasAnnie January 6, 2014 at 5:18 AM

Why the denigration of being gay? I do understand that Nebraska was the first in the nation to foul it’s state constitution with anti-gay language, but that was 2000 and this is 2013! I hope by now that you realize the U.S. Supreme Court is coming around to the ‘gay lifestyle,’ and that gay couples are getting legally married and *gasp* adopting children that straight couples gave birth to but threw away. It could happen that a legally gay couple could challenge that foul constitutional language, nullify it, and, even kiss one another in a public place in Nebraska!

Is that what your pols mean when they speak of “Nebraska Values?”

60 Great move by Janssen January 6, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Just saw his tax plan and it looks great! No taxes on military and Social Security.

61 Gerard Harbison January 6, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Lil Mac: any bureaucracy has politics and infighting. The military isn’t anything special. You might as well say someone with a 25 year career in the IRS is qualified.

62 Gerard Harbison January 6, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Let me just add something that annoys me.

The US, in any meaningful sense, was defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan. The defeat had nothing to do with the military. We had control of both countries, and we simply walked away. Al Qaida now controls Fallujah, which was taken at enormous cost in US blood and treasure. The Taliban is simply waiting for us to leave Afghanistan, and will then return the country to status quo ante. We had a very partial, incomplete victory in Desert Storm. No need even to mention Vietnam. Korea was a stand off. The last clear military victory we had was WWII.

Military leaders do not make decisions that alter whether we win or lose.

63 Question January 6, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Whose running Brewer’s campaign?

64 Gerard Harbison January 7, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Just read Bob Woodward’s review of Robert Gates’ book, which is scathing about Obama’s defense and foreign policy, and particularly about Joe Biden, who he says has been a canker sore on US foreign policy for four decades,

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