Big wave surfers

When the big storms hit, there are always those crazy surfers who take advantage of the giant surf to ride their boards on the biggest waves possible.

Ben Sasse and Pete Ricketts did that last night.

(Lee Terry on the other hand, was more like Ralph Malph on a broken ironing board, just trying not to get drowned by the gathering foam. But we will come back to that in a separate post.)

There were certainly indications going into last night that it would be big for Republicans. But the battle of Virgina, the upset in Arkansas, the comeback in Kansas and the turnovers in Iowa and Colorado made it an historic mid-term.

Ben Sasse’s and Pete Rickett’s victories were not upsets, but they got to ride that Republican wave nonetheless. Both will have the opportunity to legislate with a clean slate and a mandate to steer the state and country in the right direction.

But there are challenges as well.

Does Sasse use his spot in the new Republican majority to pass laws, or will it be just to lob veto-ready legislation at the President to prep for 2016? We aren’t saying that isn’t a strategy, but we will be curious to see what he and (mentor?) Ted Cruz will be up to.

And Sasse certainly seemed to be signaling…something with part of his victory speech in Spanish last night. Whether that is just some sort of olive branch, or something more waits to be seen. But considering that Sasse has been writing that speech for the past six months, it would seem to have greater implications.

(And just for history’s sake… we certainly congratulate Sasse on his dominating victory over Dave Domina. And Sasse’s primary victory was even more impressive, considering where he started the race. But before anyone starts claiming the “greatest campaign in Nebraska history” traveling trophy, we believe the Hagel camp from 1996 would like to point out their 93 county organization and the fact that they defeated a well funded, 2-term Governor in the General, and not a Nazi-defending lawyer.)


Pete Ricketts also had a dominating victory over a decent opponent. Hassebrook was not entirely a pushover. He was an office-holder, and had “rural” after his name whenever he was mentioned. But after a bruising primary, the Ricketts camp never took their foot off Chuck’s neck.

And now with a new legislature, it will be Ricketts challenge, as the new sheriff in town, to govern what many believe will be the Wild West Unicameral.

Can Ricketts lay out an agenda that he can shepherd through the mountain lions waiting behind the podiums? As the new jail keeper, will he be able to take charge of the issue that will have the spotlight of the news cycle for the foreseeable future?

Ricketts and his team will need a strong hand, especially as others try to snatch the power in any apparent vacuum.

Exciting stuff.


Our congrats to Charlie Janssen for slamming the door shut on the upstart that was Amanda McGill. Janssen now gets the keys to what new Lt. Governor Mike Foley made a high-profile office.

It will be interesting to see if Janssen gives as well as Foley, and if Foley, now on the other side, can receive as well as he gave.


  1. Dave Sund, one of the small numbers of local Dems I respect, says Dems are -5 in the unicameral, with 35R 13D and Ernie Chambers. Even granted that some of the Rs are really Ds, Ricketts should be able to do what needs to be done.

  2. Unicameral reform says:

    Time to kick the Dems out of their chairmanships in the Unicam. No excuse for them to have any power down there. The NSEA screwed themselves in this election. The only big win was preserving Harr in a democratic stronghold. Senator Heath Melo is screwed!

  3. Unicameral Count? says:

    What will be the partisan count heading into the 2015 Unicameral? And for the Republicans, what will be the breakdown of conservatives/RINOs?

  4. anonymous says:

    For Lee Terry to accuse Douglas Co Elec Comm Dave Phipps of voter fraud was so wrong and ungracious. If they’re losing The Terry Family blames everyone but themselves. The elec comm has a a system of checks and balances. Nothing about last night’s voting procedures was unusual. What’s not unusual is Terry’s consistent string of foot in mouth entitlement to a job he was only supposed to have for six years. Lee Terry its time to show graciousness. The voters gave you a ten year bonus. Lee Terry dig deep and pull out your class card by publicly apologizing to Dave Phipps.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The big winner of the 2014 election is Hillary. She cannot make Obama less toxic so she hopes Congressional Republicans spend the next two years gutting each other. That is what Omaha Republicans did to each other most of the past year.

    Most Americans see Republicans as the top hat guy in Monopoly. In 2016, Hillary will give voters a snowball and urge them to “knock off the hat”. Voters like to hate Republicans and they love to hate Congress. It’s a double whammy.

  6. P says:

    I don’t think Ricketts was a great candidate for this particular race. His persona and that of Hassebrook left him wide open for attacks and class warfare garbage. That said, he still won handily. Sasse, won even easier against a pitiful Democratic candidate. So I ask you, how did they actually pass a minimum wage increase? Do these people who vote for Ricketts/Sasse have any idea what they stand for? Did Ricketts/Sasse do that poor of a job educating the public from the stump about why a minimum wage increase is bad for Nebraska? I’m a teacher. I work a little pizza delivery on the side during the summers. My 15 hours per week are going to be pretty easy for my boss to cut out of his budget. They can’t pass on costs to consumers very easily either. They are mandated to charge such-and-such a price for special deals. Even if he does find a way to pass that cost on to the customers, how do you think this will affect my tips? (assuming I have a job)

  7. Anonymous says:

    EVERYTIME the minimum wag is increased, we get doom and gloom stories like P’s. It doesn’t take much research to debunk. In fact the economy consistently improves after the minimum wage increases. Those making minimum wage tend to spend everything they earn so it goes back into the economy immediately (see the “multiplier effect”). Unlike tax cuts that go mainly to the very rich who tend to save rather than spend it. This is not to say that there might not be some disruptions in the short term. But I’m not going to feel too sorry for a (public?) school teacher who will make plenty on the back-end (i.e. pension).

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do these people who vote for Ricketts/Sasse have any idea what they stand for?

    That’s the right question, but your reasoning is off. Republicans did a great job of disguising their real positions in national races. That combined with low turnout of normally Democratic constituencies resulted in the Republican sweep. Many of those (low-info) who voted for the minimum wage probably had no clue that the Republicans they voted for didn’t support the wage hike and held some of the radical positions that they do.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nebraska’s are populists. They voted for the minimum wage hike, despite its being a Democratic idea, because they knew it was the right thing to do. They vote for Republicans because the Nebraska Democratic Party doesn’t have any issues to work with, 475 was all Nordquist and Conrad.
    Vince Powers and his crew hinder, rather than help, any candidate running with a D after their name.

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