**UPDATE at 2:30 pm***
A new poll out from “Legacy Foundation Action Fund“…under the URL “support-ben-sasse-senate”:
The poll surveyed 600 likely Republican voters in live call interviews across Nebraska.
The interviews were conducted May 5-6. It has a MoE +/- 4%
Significant number of Undecideds left in the Senate race. Governor’s are whittling down.
FWIW, we note this is a Sasse poll. We have heard other numbers as well in the Senate race that are closer.
But the campaign broke out a surprise at the Omaha press conference and introduced Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert who endorsed Bruning as well.
We should just note that while the Ricketts and Foley camps are trying to downplay these — which are about as significant as you can get in terms of endorsements — there are other candidates and their posses who are just…well…pissed.
Our assessment is that Heineman figured that if he did not endorse anyone, or if he endorsed another candidate, then Nebraska would be looking at Governor Ricketts.
(This is just our guess. We have not seen or heard of any particular polling — only that the numbers are very close and that Bruning took a pounding from all of the anti-Bruning ads from the “anonymous” groups.)
We have a feeling that the Stothert endorsement will pull up some of the same feelings. We understand it. And one will never know what may have happened if Heineman had gone another direction.
In any case, the dynamic of this race has officially changed.
Oh, and we have heard that there may be a serious anti-Ricketts TV buy on the way.
Katy bar the door.
And this morning the Ricketts camp announced their endorsement from Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
We received the Shane Osborn release around 8pm Tuesday night announcing that “52 economists from across the country” had endorsed Shane.
And we looked at it.
And we wondered exactly how many hours it would take until this blew up.
Turns out the answer was about 15 hours.
Because we knew there was no way a 52 economists from major schools across the country could ALL be behind Osborn.
That’s not to say they wouldn’t agree with Osborn, or his positions. It was just that it was too big of a number for all of them to come down on Shane’s side. If they were military guys or other State Treasurers, we wouldn’t have blinked. But “economists” got our Spidey senses up.
And sure enough, today the OWH said that a number of the economists said they agreed with the general principles, but that didn’t mean they were endorsing the specific candidate.
Now that’s not to say ALL of them said this. Some said they DID endorse Osborn.
But, come on. Who didn’t see this coming a mile away?
All it would have taken was low lever campaign worker to call each of them and confirm, or whatever you needed to do to insure this wouldn’t happen. Would it have made a difference if that had lowered the number from 52 to 42? Or even 25?
This is a lapse that turns a very minor potential bump into another embarrassing mistake for the Osborn campaign.
In the final week.
But Camp Osborn got a mini-victory after the they got a couple of TV stations to stop airing the “60 Plus” ads featuring the military guys criticizing Osborn.
Reportedly this came after former Creighton Law Dean and Osborn legal advisor, Pat Borchers, sent a letter to the stations regarding the veracity of the ad.
Borchers argued that the ad was false, as it stated Osborn “created” the Pentagon memo about Osborn’s China landing.
(By the way, Frances Martel at Breitbart, we would note that Osborn received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Meritorious Service Medal for the landing, as opposed to being “given an award”.)
60 Plus, which has endorsed Ben Sasse, stated that they think it is accurate, and noted that Osborn has apologized for it already.
We suppose this is a slight victory for Osborn. But then re-hashing the memo probably doesn’t help.
Along with the negative 15-second Ben Sasse ad, “Freedom Pioneers Action Newtwork” also has a pro-Shane Osborn ad up.
See it here:
Looks like someone let the intern whack together an ad in about 4 minutes.
Good thing for Osborn it is a fairly massive buy.
The Sid Dinsdale for Senate camp has a new web video up, called “Fellow Nebraskans“.
See it here.
As longtime readers know, we always like the “talking to the viewers” ads better than others. This one we find pretty effective, as it sums up Dinsdale’s campaign in the final week.
You will likely see a few more of these from other candidates over the next few days.
A couple more national observations on the Senate race.
Yesterday Stuart Rothenberg gave a two paragraph observation on the race:
The Nebraska Senate race certainly has some elements of an internal war. Anti-establishment groups are supporting Ben Sasse, and the club has spent more than $220,000 against former state Treasurer Shane Osborn (though it isn’t obvious that he is part of the “establishment.”) More recently, RedState’s Erickson attacked community banker Sid Dinsdale, who seems to be emerging as a serious threat in the three-way fight.
But the chamber is not in the race, and the NRSC has remained neutral. Moreover, Sasse is more thoughtful than many knee-jerk anti-establishment candidates who utter little more than “constitutional conservative” platitudes and angry denunciations of the party’s leaders. The fact that anti-establishment groups are so supportive of Sasse makes this a race to watch.
Of course another reason this is the “race to watch” is that the “establishment” candidate won
lost in North Carolina yesterday, and the “Tea Party”, i.e. anti-Mitch McConnell, groups are VERY anxious to post a “win” nationally.
They may get it with Sasse.
But as Rothenberg points out, is it because Osborn or Dinsdale are “establishment”, or is it because the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund and all the others have poured millions into hammering Osborn and now Dinsdale?
If Sasse wins, we won’t see this so much as a “non-establishment” guy winning, as Jim DeMint picking his guy out of the four and making the others guys Disciples of Satan.
Jim Geraghty of the National Review (which featured Sasse on their cover) noted this morning, post victory of North Carolina “establishment” candidate Thom Tillis:
The usual suspects will argue that this result (in North Carolina) is one more sign of the decline of the Tea Party. But this continues the chaotic classification system, in which all a candidate needs to be considered the “tea-party” candidate in the narrative is to say, “I’m the Tea Party candidate.” Tillis is hardly a squish, and 59 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters felt positively about Tillis; 24 percent felt unfavorably.
A more accurate interpretation is that “establishment” candidates — read, those who have actually been elected to office before — are getting better at adapting to a political environment shaped by “tea-party” supporters and making the case that they will indeed fight for conservative reforms.
If Sasse wins next week it will be because Nebraskans saw him as the better candidate and feel like he would effectively represent Nebraska — not because he was more “Tea Party” and less “Establishment”. (Oh, and also because he ran a better campaign.)
If Osborn wins, it won’t be because voters wanted a more “establishment” candidate and they hate Tea Partiers. It will likely be because they feel like they know him, know his story and feel he will be a good representative for Nebraska.
Same on Dinsdale. Though the Sasse-Osborn war would likely be viewed as a major factor for Dinsdale’s rise — and his perceived maturity and experience.
McLeay? As Marge Simpson once said describing all of her children, “…and Bart… well…we love Bart.”
At this point, we see the Senate race in an interesting spot.
The polls? Well two things: Note that every poll so far has been either from Ben Sasse or from a group who is supporting Sasse (and yes, we include Breitbart in that group). BUT, that does not mean that the other campaigns haven’t been polling as well. If they had polls that showed them doing very well, they would likely be throwing them around.
So should we assume Sasse is ahead?
That seems pretty reasonable.
Are there still a bunch of Undecideds?
But there have been turning points in this race:
Osborn’s initial giant lead.
Sasse’s surge after the national endorsements.
Dinsdale’s attack from Red State.
The Heineman endorsement today showed that a major event often needs to happen in the final week.
If we see something like that in the Senate race, then things would really be turning.