Who is Dan Welch?

“Sheridan Blvd” is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.

SheridanBlvd01I must admit when I first heard Dan Welch was a possible replacement for J.L. Spray as Party Chairman I had to do some research.

So as I fired up the ‘ol Google machine, I started to think about what makes a good Chairman.

First I think a good chairman needs to be a “party Guy”, someone who can approach it with the simple view of “Is the candidate the Republican nominee?” and “What can I do to get them elected?” Second they need to have at least a basic relationship with political activists from around the state. Third they need to be able to fundraise. In today’s world of Super PACs, politics is an expensive business and you need to be able to have the money to play the game.

I originally assumed Governor Pete Ricketts would tap a former statewide candidate like Bryan Slone or Shane Osborn, or possibly a former elected official like Scott Lautenbaugh. Or surely a party stalwart like Bob Evnen or John Orr. But the unknown Dan Welch left me searching for background.

According to Google, Welch is a 44 year-old former City Councilman and former Omaha Mayoral candidate. He has been a practicing attorney since 1998 when he graduated from Creighton. He seems to be an okay fundraiser and his donor rolls included Governor Ricketts.

That’s all fine and good, I thought, but this is a statewide Chairmanship with a lot on the table in 2016, not the head of the oft dysfunctional DCRP.

I then decided to ask around political circles outside of Omaha where I was greeted with the familiar Rand-ian refrain “Who is Dan Welch?”.

Which left me with the question of why Dan Welch?

If having an Omaha candidate is a necessity to try and reclaim CD 2 why not Osborn or even Dave Nabity, who also ran for Omaha Mayor with Welch but also has attended a Central Committee meeting? What is so special about Dan Welch?

The only thing this Lincolnite can come up with is “control.”. Is this a attempt to get someone who Governor Ricketts and the M&Ms (Moenning & Miltenberger) can control? Slone and Osborn obviously have plenty of their own ideas. Lautenbaugh and Nabity have been around long enough to be willing to take a stand when they feel strongly. Party faithful like Evnen and Orr, who supported Governor Ricketts tooth and nail from the beginning, also have strong personal compasses, and takes on what’s best for the party. They are well versed in party politics and have many relationships built over decades of involvement, not to mention a close personal relationship with a certain former Governor.

The only reason I can come up with for Dan Welch, is that he is a person who has no real institutional knowledge and who would lean almost exclusively on the Governor and his kitchen cabinet for marching orders.

As near as I can tell, that is the greatest case for the Nebraska Republican Chairmanship to go to Dan Welch


  1. Liberty Rocks says:

    I would say that you hit the nail on the head. How long before Governor Pete realizes he is getting poor advice that diminishes the credibility he (presumably) is trying to establish? Let’s hope someone (anyone) else will decide to run for the good of the party and the state.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think many considered Brian Buescher the favorite, given he finished second in the AG primary and has been a former chairman of the DCRP and State Party Finance Chair, among many other party positions. The Ricketts family were also very supportive of his campaign for AG (to the tune of over $50K). Something else must be in mind for him, or maybe he didn’t want it.

  3. @ 6:52am says:

    She hired her longtime good friend Chris Peterson as Dan Welch’s campaign manager. Jessica Moenning was the consultant or “senior advisor”. After that monstrous loss he joined her at the lobbying firm LS2 Group.

    To put on a good face with the public she left that firm after taking the senior advisor position. However in the media it was noted she still has kept some private clients. He is still at the firm and is also doing work for Ricketts too. That seems to be another conflict of interest issue. There is chocolate chip “C” in that M&M wheel.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In the comment thread of the last post, someone mentioned that Dan was MIA at elephant remembers… I’d just like to point out that a lot of people ditched elephant remembers because a lot of folks just don’t want to be seen at or associated with the circus at DCRP.

    That being said, Dan has been MIA for two years and was MIA for many years before his ill fated mayoral run. Previous to that, he stepped down as city council President. Dan Welch is not exactly coming from a position of power here. This is a bad pick by Jes… I mean Ricketts.

  5. Anonymous says:

    John Orr would have a very, very hard time winning even if the Gov backed him (which we have heard will not happen). Evnen wants to be Sec of State someday so probably not a good idea to be the party chairman. Lautenbaugh–great guy but for a variety of reasons never a serious consideration for the Ricketts team. The real potentials here were Slone, Buescher, Evnen, Tony Fulton, Welch.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Any of the above names @8:42am would have been a better pick than Welch. I have always gotten the sense that Dan Welch has been involved from time to time in NE GOP politics for self promoting. Never gotten the sense he was willing to work extra hard.

  7. To St Sweeper says:

    Will you give Dan Welch an opportunity to be your next podcast interview? He’s taking a lot of heat on here. Not much time till the election. I think it would be in his best interest to do it. He can tell us who Dan Welch is.

  8. To 9:02 am
    I would absolutely like to have Dan — and many others — on the Wheels Down Politics podcast.
    One thing I would like to point out:
    Leavenworth St. (which is me) is NOT opposed to Dan Welch.
    But Leavenworth St. now has contributing writers, and as always many commenters. And those contributing writers and commenters are allowed to express their opinions on the politics of the day (as long as they keep things civil, etc.).
    My hope is to keep Leavenworth St. a place where we can continue to have civil political discussions on topics like this. I doubt Dan likes the negatives, but I think he appreciates and supports a healthy and civil discussion.
    (Stress on the CIVIL there, kids.)

  9. Jason says:

    I think Welch will do an outstanding job. Even though I worked on an opposing campaign in the mayoral primary, it was obvious how good a candidate Dan was. He represents new blood as a state party. He probably has aspirations for higher elected office and would definitely receive my vote.

  10. Total Control says:

    Calling my shot now Welch for Chairman Taylor Gage for ED, and Jessica gets to sit on her thrown in a impotent state party headquarters.

  11. Choc Chip M&Ms says:

    Don’t forget about her good friend Chris Peterson. He is very much a part of what is going on with the administration, the state party and getting inside help with his private sector job of lobbying for clients (her old employer).

  12. I think th proper answer to the question is ‘who cares?’

    With 35/49 GOP in the Unicam, Voter ID just died on a majority vote. Seriously, the state GOP is a joke. They couldn’t figure out how to pass gas, let alone anything substantive. As far as I’m concerned they can play their little ‘who wants to be the chair now?’ game until hell freezes over, because it’s all they’re capable of doing.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It sounds to me like JL Spray was badly treated by Pete Ricketts and his advisors. It’s very surprising considering for years he has had a good relationship with the M&M team. I guess they let getting into the governor’s mansion go to their big heads and got power hungry.

    Welcome to the real Ricketts administration team. Let’s all pray now for our state’s good government and code of ethics.

  14. The Devil Wears Prada says:

    Unfortunately Mr. Spray was not the only victim of her kick to the curb team. I have heard of many people being burned. I feel for Dan Welch. He made a deal with The Devil Wears Prada.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Last comment at 12:58PM? Perfect. He actually thought he could muscle Jean Stothert out by announcing the day before she did. THAT’s some ego.

  16. Oracle says:

    You might be good at extrapolating, professor, but you’re a sucker for flawed studies, as long as they agree with your worldview. Anyone with a smattering of polling and statistics knowledge would realize that the Old Dominion study that came to this conclusion was very suspect. Hope your research methods aren’t similar 🙂

  17. Oracle says:

    Where do I start. First, the data is based on Internet polling. That’s a red flag right there (garbage in, garbage out). Next, the sample of non-citizens is only 1%, making it impossible to draw valid statistical conclusions. Plenty of academics have criticized the study (google it). I can’t verify whether it was peer reviewed, but I’d question the credentials of those “peers” if they didn’t catch these problems.

    Now on the other hand, plenty of studies indicate that voter ID laws prevent more legitimate voters from voting than stopping non-citizen voters. it’s a non-problem that you righties, for some reason, get overwrought up about.

  18. So now we have LB280, introduced by another Republican, Al Davis. It would hike income taxes by 20 – 30% across the board. It’s supported by the Open Sky Institute.

    I nominate Chuck Hassebrook for State GOP chairman. He’s the conservative choice.

  19. View from the North says:


    The biggest indictments I’ve seen of that study are twofold and go hand in hand. First, though the sample size for the study overall was huge (nearly 33,000), the subset that self-identified as “non-citizens” was fairly small (339 in 2008 and 489 in 2010). This means that to arrive at their 6.4% number, the authors were basing their conclusions on the responses of no more than 32 people per year. Trying to extrapolate that data accurately across a pool of potential voters in the millions, seems to invite error.

    Second, subsequent analysis reported by Michael Tesler of Brown University in the Washinton Post, found that 41% of those who self-identified as “non-citizens” in the 2012 CCEs report had previously identified as citizens in 2010. This tends to suggests a significant rate of “self-reporting” error if not outright bias.

    These two things in combination lead to a margin of error for their ultimate conclusions that would render the entire study statistically worthless.

  20. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with internet polling, and the demographics of the sample were adjusted to reflect the US population. I don’t know if you understand the influence of sample size on statistics, but it’s not a question of percentage, but of raw numbers. The total number of non citizens polls was 818, which is pretty close to what you’d have in a regular opinion poll. Moreover, a substantial fraction of those individuals were checked against credit-card and voter databases.

    Electoral Studies, where it was published, is certainly peer reviewed. Here’s a link to the published article.


  21. Oops, sorry, forgot about the no-link policy.

    There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with internet polling, and the demographics of the sample were adjusted to reflect the US population. I don’t know if you understand the influence of sample size on statistics, but it’s not a question of percentage, but of raw numbers. The total number of non citizens polled was 818, which is pretty close to what you’d have in a regular opinion poll. Moreover, a substantial fraction of those individuals were checked against credit-card and voter databases.

    Electoral Studies, where it was published, is certainly peer reviewed.

  22. It wasn’t the responses of 32 people per year. It was 339 in 2008, and 489 in 2010. There is no justification for averaging over some number of years.

    The claim about Tesler is incorrect. Tesler found that about 81 percent of self-reported non-citizens in 2012 had indicated they were non-citizens in 2010.

  23. Oops, misunderstood the point about 32 people. It’s easy to estimate the 95% confidence limits of a result of 32 positives in 489. They are 22 and 45. So the percentage would be between 4.5% and 9.2% with 95% probability.

  24. Anonymous says:

    There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with internet polling
    Professor, please stick with your area of competency. Not statistics and polling. The gyrations used to normalize these Internet polls introduce more errors.

  25. View from the North says:

    Now for my “oops”. It wasn’t 41% of respondents, it was 41% of self-reported non-citizen voters. in 2012. More to the point, You’re still talking about only 17 respondents in 2012 and 14 respondents in 2010 who self-reported as non-citizen voters. Given the apparent self-selection error of the data set, Tesler says quite clearly that it is not appropriate for the type of extrapolation made by the studies authors.

    I agree that internet polls can have predictive power, but to make the broad claim that thousands of non-citizens are voting and swinging election across the country seems like a stretch with this data.

  26. YouGov uses internet polling methods, and perform comparably to traditional pollsters. Rather than try to claim authority (which is impossible when you’re anonymous), you should argue your point.

    In fact, looking at results from 2012 and 2014, I see no evidence internet polling firms did worse than traditional. And political scientists seem to agree. Poll accuracy has generally gotten worse in general, as people give up landlines and reaching a broad representative sample has become harder.

  27. I do strongly recommend reading Richman et al’s published article, which discusses the likely confidence limits and errors much more extensively than their WaPo piece. Sure, no one’s claiming 1.4 +/- 0.1 m voted in 2008. But it’s hard to escape the conclusion that non-citizen voters in 2008 were of the order of millions, rather than thousands. Enthusiasm dropped off dramatically in 2010.

    And speaking from personal experience. I lived as a non-citizen in this country for 25 years. I was on several occasions offered the chance to register to vote (DMV office, etc.). I did not, of course, do so. But, since I pass for a US native (I had, when I came to Nebraska, to argue vehemently with UNL that they needed to check and keep a copy of my Green Card), I doubt I would have had the slightest difficulty in voting. And since in many countries you don’t have to be a citizen to vote, it’s entirely plausible a couple of million people did so in all innocence.

  28. Oracle says:

    If you get a large enough sample size, then Internet polling improves to be close to traditional polling methods. However you can’t apply standard statistical methods to determine margin-of-error as you did above. One can only produce an accurate margin-of-error if the following are known: 1) probability of participation of each member in the survey population OR 2) everyone in the population must have a known chance of participating in the survey. Neither happens with a self selecting survey as an Internet poll is. So the margin of area is practically guaranteed to be much larger than you have calculated.

  29. Pete's Payback says:

    All of Jessica Moenning’s relationships will need to be scrutinized for any ethics issues. Her husband’s projects, her friends, and family. It’s a bad arrangement for a new administration and very disappointing from Pete Ricketts who pledged transparency.

    Pete Ricketts feels like he owes her what she wants for his political comeback: lots of money, lifestyle flexibility and power to help him run the administration. His indebted generous gratitude to her is blinding his better judgement. It will bite him back.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I never thought I would give Nebraska Democratic Chairman Vince Powers any compliment. This private paid high ranking Ricketts advisor needs to be investigated. We can’t count on Joe Jordan’s Watchdog. So Go get’em Vince!

  31. No Hope Left says:

    If you expect Vince Powers to actually do something, you’re going to be very disappointed.

    The NDP sent out a fundraising email this afternoon taking credit for killing the voter ID bill. If they were honest they’d admit that Ernie Chambers did 90% of the work and moderate Republicans chipped in another 4.5%.

    That’s about the standard for Vince’s leadership of the NDP. If our Republican Attorney General takes the Governor to task for his stupid hiring decisions you can expect Vince to jump in front of a TV camera and take credit for anything the AG does. Just don’t expect Vince to do a damned thing in the mean time.

  32. No Hope Left says:

    Well then……

    Our last, best hope is that Ernie Chambers will call Ricketts out for his crimes on the floor of the Legislature. There’s not much doubt that that WILL happen before the end of the session.

  33. No ID, No Problem says:

    I wonder if Vince Powers will condemn Patty Pansing Brooks and Ernie Chambers for calling supporters of the voter ID bill racists because that is essentially what they did on the floor yesterday. I doubt it. But, if you call Pat McPherson out on his lack of editorial skills one should be consistent and ask for the resignation of Brooks and Chambers.

  34. Law professor says:

    Did I see a tweet by the illustrusious Senator Kintner bragging about illegally smoking cigars the other night at Safari. Hey, cigar affeciendo blowhard, the bill has not passed yet, it is still against the law to smoke inside cigar bars. Guessing there will be no citations but geez how dense can you be?

  35. Ode to Jessica M&M says:

    The song goes something like this:
    Hey, woman, you got the blues,
    ‘Cause you ain’t got no one else to use.
    There’s an open road that leads nowhere,
    So just make some miles between here and there.
    There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in.
    You took my body and played to win.
    Ha, ha, woman, it’s a cryin’ shame,
    But you ain’t got nobody else to blame.

  36. Law professor says:

    My bad. Kintner also posted picture of colleagues McCollister and Nordquist breaking the law. He also says it is at the safari lounge so he is putting their liquor license at risk for allowing illegal smoking to take place. Of course nothing will happen, but stand by the narrative that it was a dense move by Bill. At least wait until the law is signed before you blow smoke.

  37. Quit blowing smoke says:

    The smoke shops never had their licenses cancelled there “Law Professor.” Better read up before you blow smoke up people’s…

  38. Law professor says:

    Not to prolong this I am sure fascinating discussion, but all you have to read is the safari liquor license on line at liquor control commission. Only licensed as a Class C, not a cigar bar. I don’t blame them for letting a few senators smoke as a thank you. I am sure they were not too happy about the photo. Jakes in Lincoln is being responsible by not allowing smoking until it is legal again in a week or so.

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