The Lee Terry situation

First, a quick Separated at Birth with…

Sasse - Disney SAB 03

Nebraska GOP Senate candidate Ben Sasse and a young Walt Disney!

Thanks to reader Justin Myers for Tweeting this one to us.


Yesterday there was quite the information bomb for the race for Congress in Nebraska’s 2nd District.

First, Watchdog’s Deena Winter Tweeted news of a GOP poll (on background) that shows Brad Ashford up on Lee Terry by 5-7%.

Later, Brad Ashford’s latest negative ad went up.
See it here:

We all knew this “issue” was coming, but it’s the creative we were waiting for.

Here, they went with the “16” birthday cake.
Which is fine, and whatever.

The VA hospital stuff is bogus and they know it. But they wanted to try to tie something to the “Dang straight” line. There is no real corelation, but they needed to come up with something to ding him on with the other. And it comes off disjoined.

Their tag line is an interesting one: “Isn’t 16 years long enough?”

So that’s it? Not, “Terry votes wrong”, or “Terry is against you”. It’s simply that he has been there too many terms (in a legislative body where seniority is everything)? That’s pretty thin gruel, even for the DCCC.

Which isn’t to say this isn’t an effective spot, because of the Terry flub line. They will run this ad non-stop if they can — and they’ve spent enough to jam it down your optic nerve for at least a week.

Because, pretty much, this is all Brad Ashford has to hang his hat on — Lee Terry saying dumb things. Which he has. Often enough. And often enough to mean his election is in jeopardy.


And Terry knows it and the National Republican Congressional Committee knows it too Which is why they have reserved $730K in ad time for Terry’s re-election.

Now the kicker on that “reservation” is whether or not they actually act on it.

Much like Jerry Seinfeld explaining that “anyone can just TAKE reservations.” It’s the HOLDING that is the important part. And for this to make a difference, the NRCC will have to actually spend the money on pro-Terry ads.

Of course the NRCC’s counterpart, the DCCC, has made a similar reservation. Though as Roll Call notes, the DCCC’s $410K reservation could also be used for Omaha area TV for the open Iowa Congressional seat as well.

Point being here, everyone believes Terry is in trouble.

So does that mean Ashford a better candidate than former Democrat challengers Jim Esch, Tom White or John Ewing?

Arguably, yes, on all accounts, for this reason: Ashford is likely seen as a middle of the road squish who Democrats and “Independants” could hold their nose for. And maybe even some Republicans, especially if they feel they could boot Ashford out after a term (which is a poor bet). The previous candidates may have all been a little too liberal for the average Omaha metro voter. But they may have found a weird enough Republi-crat in Ashford.


And as we noted above, Lee Terry is well aware of this. As he spoke last night to the 150 or so Republicans at Douglas County GOP meeting at the Comfort Inn in Omaha, Terry was matter-of-fact in his assessment that many in the crowded room were NOT his supporters. He ticked off the reasons why Ashford could pull out a victory — bond issue, anti-Ricketts, pro-minimum wage raisers all getting out the vote. And he also noted that any who sit on their hands against Lee are simply supporting Ashford.

All true.

And he also noted that a Freshman Ashford will be cowed and cajoled by a Nancy Pelosi.
If that’s what you’re into.

But we will be more than a little surprised if many of the newbies in that room will get off their duffs for Lee. They had no real plan to do so iwhen they first signed-up, and then when their guy got hard-balled in the primary, their duff-sitting calcified.

Of course the funny thing is that we will be surprised to see many hard-core Democrats get off theirs for Ashford. He isn’t seen as “one of them”, and they may feel that they don’t really want to elect a former Republican anyway.

Which side will slouch to victory?


A couple of other notes from the DCRP meet:

There was an appeal or plan or some such to start “raising money” for legislative candidates.
Uh, isn’t now about the time you start SPENDING for those candidates?
Five to six weeks out seems a little tardy to get on that fund raising plan.

And one point of light in the county GOP was legislative candidate Gwenn Aspen.
She is up against Democrat State Senator Burke Haar in District 8 (north-mid-townish Omaha), in a district that a Republican hasn’t held for around 30 years. She really came off as a smart, knowledgable candidate who could shake things up.

The ground game makes all the difference in those races.


We would add that it has been a bit curious with all of the anti-Terry sentiments coming from apparently GOP politicos lately. The Hill quotes a GOP source saying of Terry, “He’s in trouble — not deep trouble, but he’s getting there,” said one national GOP strategist. “The district is great. It’s just him, he’s terrible.”

Add that to Deena Winter’s GOP source who is spilling bad-GOP poll numbers, and we do wonder a bit about who is so bitter.

Look, we get that Terry has pissed off consultants, many long-running, who he has dumped as of late. (And it is our understanding that this info is mainly coming out of D.C.) But who wants to hire a consultant or operative who will later take a dump on you if you don’t stay married to his or her firm for their entire political life? We know things are said in private, but we are a little surprised, and dismayed, at those who take it to the press.

He’s terrible“? Grinding that axe down to the nub, are we?


  1. Macdaddy says:

    All right! The national GOP strategist trying to blame a Terry loss on Terry. How quickly do they forget the name Eric Cantor. How poorly have they learned their lessons about spurning the base. Already they have lost the momentum and are going to fumble away the Senate and are going to try to pin it on individual candidates. The Stupid Party indeed. What’s the point of voting for unprincipled morons? I will spell it out for you: John Boehner is single-handedly destroying the GOP with his wrong values. Period.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Consultants are the least of Lee Terry’s problems. He gives the impression he values his own lifestyle more than the concerns of those he serves. How does any consultant get into that empty brain trust?

  3. vet says:

    Ashford’s ad about his father on D-Day irks me. Terry’s father also fought in WWII. So did mine. So what?

    The question is: What did Brad himself do during Brad’s war era, during Vietnam?

    Ashford was 25 and a half when the Vietnam War ended in April 1975. Lee Terry had just turned 13.

    For more than seven years, Ashford was old enough to volunteer to fight. He somehow managed not to. 10 million Americans served during the Vietnam war era.

    I am a few years younger than Ashford yet several men I flew with died and others were POWs. I was lucky, I only spent six months in a military hospital. So what am I and others to think of Ashford’s military bravado about his father’s wartime service when Brad himself had a wartime duty that Brad apparently neglected?

    No one twisted Ashford’s arm to use that ad. It was his idea. So now he can explain to the 10 million who served and the 58 thousand who died, in his place, how he’s not an unpatriotic draft dodging crumb.

    If Ashford loathed the military like Bill Clinton did, that’s his right. But Brad is playing this in front of patriotic Nebraska voters as if Brad isn’t the wartime military service evader he apparently is.

  4. DCRP Member says:

    Gwenn Aspen has run a really remarkable campaign. She won the primary though she was helped because there were actual races on the GOP side while the Democrats were choosing between “Tax and Spend” Larry and “The Scowl” for Senate. I noted with some amusement that Tax and Spend, who never has gotten over 3% of the vote in any race, actually got about 1/3 of the primary vote. Yeah, Lee has said some dumb things, but so have I. They just don’t wind up in the paper. Ashford in a perfectly lubricated weathervane. He will be worse than useless if he accidentally gets himself elected.

  5. 1A says:

    #6-remember how it was, the draft, as if it was a equitable system and could not be manipulated by the connected or affluent, serving or avoiding(remember George Hamilton), i can just imagine how it would work in this era, the expendables, not just a movie, and would brown be the new black. What Brad’s father did is no addition to his resume, but many will think so

  6. makingthesausage says:

    Many people don’t think at all. Yet they vote, which is why Democracy cannot work here anymore. It requires voters be more than large babies.

    10,000 boomers are hitting retirement age every day. And of all working Americans over 55 years old, 60% have less than $100,000 in the bank and 25% have less than $1,000 total savings. A thousand bucks after working 35 years? How can we expect Americans to defend themselves? They can’t even hang onto an earned dollar to save themselves.

    I know three little piggies who were left an estate. One was an economics professor with a lot of credit card debt. One made big bucks and spent it on single malt and sex. The last lived in a house well below what he could afford, paid off his car in a year, paid off his 30 year house loan in 7 years, a painful effort of thrift, and thus owed nothing. When the estate boon came, the professor paid off his credit cards, the profligate bought a Porsche, and thrifty sold his small home and bought for cash a ranch home with a view. There is nothing lucky about it. It is simply difficult painful adult behavior or easy fun childish behavior. Adult behavior is ridiculed by US society and goverment; the same bastards who share wealth by bailing out people who should be homeless because they bought big houses beyond their income.

    Nature subsidizes wisdom, industry and thrift. Government subsidizes stupidity, laziness and waste.

    Damn government for it ruining human beings. They literally become things not worth defending. And most Americans certainly won’t defend themselves. This is all going to end soon and ugly because one responsible piggy just isn’t enough to keep the other two from making sausage of them all.

  7. Fritz says:

    Anonymous- people will be blaming Dan Fry, Scott Petersen, and Brian Baumgartner. Well, maybe Chip a little. They will be *owning* a Brad Ashford win. People will be asking why they worked so hard to enable a pro-abortion Democrat who supports the Pelosicrats. Fry, Petersen, and Baumgartner, in that order. Documentation for making this case: Festersen dropping out of his bid to unseat Terry. Dirty little secret everybody knows is Festersen could not get enough money committed in advance, because they kept losing against Terry. So these RINO’s pushed Fry hard to weaken Terry to get an Ashford win. And now you know!

  8. DCRP Member says:

    Scott and Brian were strong in their support for Lee at the last DCRP meeting. Maybe it’s too little, too late. But they are in his camp.

  9. 40-Year Registered Republican says:

    My conscience won’t allow me to ever again cast a vote for Lee Terry.

    Folks, we are at a cultural crossroads in this country. The Big Government Barbarians are at the gate; and frankly, they have been largely winning the hearts and minds of undecided voters for the better part of twenty-five years. As a Constitution-Loving-Conservative, I expect more from my Congressman than just showing-up and voting however he or she is instructed by GOP Party Leadership.

    Call me an idealist, but I also expect my elected representatives to embrace, protect, & promote Liberty – Lee Terry has failed all of us in this regard. From voting For the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), to voting For the Patriot Act, to his several thoughtless & insensitive public comments over the past couple of years, Lee Terry has proven to be little more than an embarrassment to the people of Nebraska. Thanks in part to Lee Terry’s votes in favor of the NDAA & Patriot Act, our government now has unprecedented legal authority to spy on its citizens and can indefinitely imprison any American Citizen without due process (all they have to do is label you or I as an enemy, without the burden of proof)…Thanks Lee!

    I could go on and on about how Lee Terry has been completely ineffective at actually selling or influencing those who are on the Political-Left to support common-sense conservative ideas and ideals, or about how he dutifully towed the GOP Party-Line by voting for the $700 Billion bank bailout in 2008 (forever a stain on our nation’s history); but you see, these acts of incompetence and injustice pale in comparison to Lee Terry’s vote to grant the Federal Government almost unlimited power over its citizens via the NDAA & the Patriot Act; a level of power that is straight out of Orwell’s “1984″ and that completely flies in the face of what our Founding Fathers stood for.

    From my perspective, based upon several decades of life experience & observation, I am convinced that Lee Terry is a Big Government Bureaucrat who has proven time and time again that he will vote for any bill that he feels will help to prolong his political career, and it seems to me (and to many others who have been paying attention) that political survival is Lee’s paramount ambition in life.

    I will vote for Brad Ashford in November, and if he turns out to be an Anti-Constitutionalist Far Left-Winger as a Congressman, then I will support a Constitution & Liberty Loving Republican (if there is one running) in the 2016 election.

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