First, a quick Separated at Birth with…
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.
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?