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.
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.