Freshman class

Ebke & RickettsSo freshman state Senator Laura Ebke has killed Winner Take All.

Well, she was arguably the one vote that could have gone either way, so one can say she tipped the scales. (Republicans Kathy Campbell of Lincoln and Paul Schumacher of Columbus also get the finger point, but it was Ebke who said she was firmly on the fence prior to the vote.)

And it certainly is an…interesting “position” she took. She thinks the Founders wanted proportional distribution of the Electoral College votes.
Of course those same Founders were looking at 13 states traversed by horses.
And they also wanted the Senate appointed. Should we go back that way?

But the larger, overreaching question is what is the best way for the United States to choose a President. And should it be done differently state by state? Is THAT what state reps Tom Jefferson and Jim Madison envisioned?

And then we can also look at the issue of how this mess all started:
Nebraska Democrats (and their national cronies) who wanted to pick off a Democrat electoral in the 2nd District.
That’s it.
That’s the reason.

So the backward reasoning of “isn’t this great for Nebraska!” and “this is what Ben Franklin and his pals in Philadelphia wanted” is a load. This started as a partisan proposal, and stuffing it back — until the WHOLE country decides on the “right” way to do things — is the correct move on this.

It is too bad Ebke and her buds can’t see that.


And lets look at all the raw politics of this.

Laura Ebke is a Ron Paulite Freshman, of the “Republican Liberty Caucus”, in the legislature.
And now she is getting props for this vote from all of the Paulie wing of the DCRP.

Suddenly they’re excited for Senator Ebke because she is “standing up for her principles” and they are falling all over themselves to explain how awesome this Democrat plan is.


Hey Republicans! Did you know you can now pick any hair-brained scheme you want, call it “principled” and voila! You’re endorsed! (You know, as long as it’s Republican Liberty Caucus “principled”.)

Interesting, we might add, that the real problem that Secretary of State John Gale pointed out — the tossing of a Presidential election into the House because of the hijacking of a few Congressional Districts with this plan — is endorsed by those who have taken party power with small victories.

Maybe the real reasoning behind this plan is starting to make sense.


The next question is, where is the leadership at the higher levels of Nebraska Republican politics? This is a Freshman Senator who killed a major, important bill. And she couldn’t be corralled for a single vote?

We have been hearing all about the deal making going on in Lincoln and the silencing of critics when there is a priority. And here they got rolled by a Freshman.

There have been critiques coming that there is no leadership on bills coming from the top — where they should be lobbying and shepherding. Instead, there has been little up front statements about priorities And in this situation it shows.

Or maybe they just didn’t care how this turns out.

Interesting, that.


The 2nd District GOP Congressional race is slowly but surely starting to take shape.

It is not clear what Shane Osborn’s plans are. There has been word that some are telling him to plow forward, that he is a lock. But it is not clear that he has definitely locked things down.

Brigadier General Bits Bacon has been moving quite a bit (ha ha) too lately, and it seems all but sure that he is in. The next steps will be introducing him to the 2nd District, and stepping out on issues.

State Senator John Murante made his intentions known for the 2nd District via…the Lincoln Journal Star. Well, that’s one way to make an announcement. Hopefully he will make some news in the River City region as well.

Creighton Law Professor (and former Dean) Patrick Borchers is still likely in the mix, and what some other candidates do may influence what path he takes down the political road.

Bryan Slone is a real wild card. There had been word that he was a lock to get in. Now, it is not so clear. If he decides against it, that is another former heavy hitter who would be out, ensuring a very wacky race.

Brian Buescher is another former statewide candidate who has not made any plans as of yet.

And there is always Chip Maxwell.

Those are some who seem to be making some major decisions. There are likely a few more. But if Osborn decides not to get it (though the latest info says he is tilting towards “in”), and if Slone doesn’t get it, that is a wide open race.

And one that would arguably make the seat more in favor of sitting Congressman Brad Ashford.

The one thing you hear from anyone thinking of running is how difficult it will be to unseat Ashford, no matter who the GOP nominee is.

Hey, remember back when Republicans didn’t support Lee Terry because it was going to be so easy to get rid of Ashford in 2016?

Good times. Good times.


That letter from 47 U.S Senators to the Iranian government will be the big deal in political news over the next few days, at least.

Note that both of Nebraska’s (and Iowa’s) Republican Senators signed on to the letter.


Hey, be sure to listen to my most recent podcast — Part 1 of my day at last Saturday’s Presidential Iowa Ag Summit. You can hear from Governor Mike Huckabee and the “controversial” statements from Senator Ted Cruz. (I hadn’t heard it “live” anywhere else — only read about it.)

And tomorrow Part 2 (of 2) will be up, where I will talk about Senator Lindsey Graham — who some thought “won the day” among Republicans — and Senator Rick Santorum and Scott Walker and many others.

It was certainly an interesting time there and I think you will enjoy listening to the two (Short! 20 minutes!) podcasts. (I like to listen while I’m driving…)


  1. Anonymous says:

    Again, the mythical power of the “non-partisan” unicameral has worked its charms (I’m talking more about the other freshman senators, not Ebke).

    We need a return to the bicameral system and partisan elections.

  2. Grow Up says:

    You think you are so funny with your little joke that she “tipped the scales.” It disgusts me that you would attack a woman just because she thought critically and didn’t vote party line.

  3. 7:31am,
    I can see what you’re getting at, but it certainly never occured to me when I wrote it. It’s a common term that fits what’s written.
    But since you apparently did, I can see where your head is.
    I have nothing to apologize for, but feel free to do so yourself.

  4. Randall says:

    “And they also wanted the Senate appointed. Should we go back that way?”

    If you read Senator Ebke’s blog, and/or search for her panel discussion with Shelli Dawdy on YouTube, you will see that she actually fully supports repealing the 17th Amendment, which would bring us back to Senate appointments by the Legislature.

  5. Pete says:

    To the above:
    A) I seriously doubt sweeper meant it that way.
    B) Voting against winner take all was not thinking critically. It was a bone headed move and the defeat of WTA takes serious wind out of the GOP sails.

  6. grab the yin foil says:

    Here comes the crazy. It is simple. It was changed in 1991 for partisan reasons. Change it back. Actually the tip the scale slight never even crossed my mind at all but I suppose she is a bit top heavy

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am sure senator Ebke is going to max out to whoever our 2nd district nominee is. Seeing as she just invited 3M in outside spending against us.

    It also highlights how weak governor Ricketts really is. I am honestly shocked that Jessica allowed
    for this to happen.

  8. TexasAnnie says:

    I tried understanding what went down with Ebke via LJS & OWH, on-line. All I could learn is that Ebke had previously voted to cut off debate on ‘Winner Take All,’ and now says she won’t do that (which will effectively kill the bill unless the 33 votes needed to end debate can be gleaned elsewhere). I happen to agree with Ebke’s position, but that’s not what has prompted me to write.

    Increasingly, Sweeper, you are revealing yourself as a bigot. Yes, BIGOT!!! You are so intolerant of the liberty movement within the Republican Party, that you treat their (evidently successful) efforts with disdain. It’s YOUR PARTY Sweeper. It’s a big tent, remember?

  9. Interesting take Annie.
    Well if being against bad votes means I’m intolerant, then…uh, NO, it doesn’t.
    It means I’m against BAD VOTES.
    This is a BAD VOTE.
    (But feel free to draw from the Democrat talking points, if that makes you happy.)
    JK (aka SS)

  10. Poli Sci Guy says:

    Clearly Senator Ebke has no clue what the effect is of not having Winner Take All in Nebraska. I guess she likes getting Democrats elected in CD #2.

  11. Wondering? says:

    Please explain why not having winner take all helps Nebraska when only one other state has adopted it? Is Laura Ebke assuming that Blue states will pass it? Is she that naive

  12. TexasAnnie says:

    Sweeper: Ebke and the “Paulites” as you term them have presented their arguments for truly representational leadership; your rebuttal amounts to nothing more than a belief that Ebke and the Liberty Caucus should do what they are told to do.

    All across this land folks are waking up to the fact that partisanship is failing us. Even in Texas and Nebraska! I, myself, tried to effect change via the fledgling (Nebraska) and activist (Texas) Libertarian Parties only to discover that the R’s and D’s have locked up political access. They have done so by gerrymandering, petitioning and campaign laws, hierarchical influence and dishonesty, and worst of all, seeming voter suppression. Yet still increasingly folks are registering ‘Independent.’ Ebke appears to understand that the Republican and Democrat machines are now fueled only by crony capitalism. From my vantage point, Ebke is trying to SAVE the Republican Party, not destroy it. So if those “small victories” helped this Freshman undo the “higher levels of Nebraska Republican politics” and you are dissatisfied with that result, perhaps you should re-consider YOUR party platform…

  13. The Grundle King says:

    TA wrote: ” Ebke appears to understand that the Republican and Democrat machines are now fueled only by crony capitalism.”

    So does that mean she’ll be turning down all campaign contributions from the Republican party?

  14. The Grundle King says:

    Related to my reply to TexasAnnie…who just can’t seem to get over her ‘somebody done somebody wrong’ song…I seriously wonder how many of the current ‘Republicans’ get away with calling themselves Republicans?

    Kathy Campbell…are you kidding me?
    Paul Schumacher…pfft!

    I’ve been mostly okay with the what Ebke had done prior to this boneheaded move…but Campbell and Schumacher are the living definitions of RINOs. If the Republican party is supporting their campaigns, they sure as hell aren’t getting much to show for it. Lil’ Jeremy Nordquist couldn’t ask for better allies.

  15. The Grundle King says:

    @ Anon 2:32,

    I can’t speak for libertarians, but I think they just want the government to stay out of their personal business, as well as their fiscal business. I’m not sure what someone would find so objectionable about that.

  16. Scale Tipping says:

    Well I guess you could say she tipped the scales in favor of the People’s Republic of Omaha. There is really no doubt of that now. Her credentials as a “conservative” are now out the window. Her credentials with Ron Paul are solid. If EVER there was an “acid test” vote, she failed on it. Jane Kleeb already has a Kleeb for CD-2 bumper sticker in the mail to her.

  17. Corn pop says:

    Let’s have proportional distribution of the Electoral College vote, one per person. That way every voter earns a free sheepskin from the Electoral College, Nebraska Campus. They get to graduate wearing mortar boards with real wet mortar and corn tassels.

    This is Nebraska. If voters all turn out on Election Day wearing jock straps on their heads, it cannot make them any odder than they already are.

    How stupid is it to tell Nebraskans, who have a nonpartisan unicameral, that there is something odd about the way they approach the Electoral College? I mean, really?

  18. Attacking paulites over WTA is absurd says:

    One Congressional district does not matter that much. Besides, if anyone looked at the Census apportionment should know Nebraska nearly lost a Congressional district last census and is likely to lose it in the next. So, not certain if WTA would have any impact anyways.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I thought the Republican Party stood for protecting the voice of the minority? That they understood the dangers of democracy and mob rule. Apparently partisanship trumps principles in Nebraska. And for what? ONE electoral vote? To keep some liberal money out of CD2? Perhaps it was Obama’s message rather than $$$ that stole the one electoral vote in 2008? They certainly spent the same $$$ in CD2 in 2012 and failed to secure that one electoral vote. Voters didn’t buy what Obama was selling the 2nd time around. Perhaps Republicans in Nebraska should focus their strategies not on how to use a legislative quirk to silence the voice of the 2nd district voters, but a stategy of winning those voters over on ideas instead. A strategy of GOTV and early voting. Do we not believe in our ideas? Why are we so afraid?

    In my opinion winner-takes-all wouldn’t keep much money out of CD2 anyway. It is the NSEA $$$ that sends dems to Lincoln and controls the Unicam. It was in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and it will be in 2016. That $$$ isn’t going away just because one electoral vote isn’t in play. And outside liberal groups will throw their $$$ at keeping the US Congressional seat whether the one electoral vote is in play or not. So stop using liberal $$$ as a scare tactic. Sure, some will come in, but it didn’t make much of a differnce in 2012 and it won’t in 2016.

    Yes, winner-takes-all gives CD2 Republicans a tactical advantage because we don’t have to worry how CD2 voters vote in the POTUS race. The rest of the state can overshadow their votes. We don’t have to work to sell our ideas. We don’t have to work. There will be less $$$, resources, and campaigning for the dems in CD2 which means less support for their down ballot candidates. While it ensures less liberal $$$ comes into CD2, I’d argue it doesn’t keep much out as they will still fight for Ashford’s seat and the NSEA $$$ will still push their candidates. It also means less Republican $$$ and resources to sell our ideas. It means Nebraska is completely ignored in the POTUS race which takes away good fundraising opportunities for the dcrp and negop, but more importantly it means that Nebraska doesn’t much matter anymore. Why should POTUS care about the wants or needs of Nebraskans when all electoral votes are guaranteed one way?

    While winner-takes-all gives cd2 Republicans an advantage, it gives the dems an advantage nationally. Rather than defending one electoral vote, we could be going after many. If California, Illinois, etc split their electoral votes, Republicans wouldn’t lose elections anymore. If every state split electoral votes, even McCain would have beat Obama in our worst election ever. Currently, the bluest of states have elected Republican governors. If a push similair to the NPV Compact movement was utilized, this message of fair representation would be embraced (either in state legislatures or by voters at the ballot through I&R). Right now, no one has more credibility to make that argument and push than our state, who does it right. However, no one would have less credibility than Republicans who just finished pushing their state from splitting electoral votes, to a winner-takes-all. We lose our argument completely. Our credibility is gone. We shoot ourselves in the foot. We give supporters of National Popular Vote an argument. Voters and reps in CD2 will be upset with Republicans that took their voice away. Cd2 voters lose a reason to even go vote under winner-takes-all. It breeds apathy rather than engagement. Why wouldn’t they embrace NPV?

    And let’s face it, voter fraud is becoming a much bigger issue. It is likely to cost us elections in the future. Winner-takes-all makes it easier for liberal groups to focus their voter fraud strategies on a few key areas in order to steal more electoral votes and elections.

    CD2 is undoubtedly unique to the rest of the state. It’s demographics couldn’t be more different and thus, we should suspect their needs and wishes will differ. Those needs and wishes will be completely overshadowed by the rest of the state. Is it okay to use a legislative quirk for partisan tactical advantage when it eliminates the voice of 1/3 of our state?

    For this and many other reasons, I can’t support winner-takes-all. But mostly because it’s ethically wrong to steal the voice of 1/3rd of Nebraskans who differ greatly demographically from the rest of the state. They deserve to have their voice heard. They matter, and frankly it should be their Constitutional right. This winner-takes-all nonsense seems contradictory to Republican principles to me…and downright unamerican.

  20. The Grundle King says:

    TA, it’s not hard to understand. If Ebke believes that the Republican party has been poisoned by ‘crony capitalism’, then surely a politician as principled as her would turn down such poison, no?

  21. This is out of hand says:

    Why are the Young Republicans working with the Liberty Caucus against Winner take All??? Winner take all would HELP Republicans. Shame on them!

  22. TexasAnnie says:

    No, Grundle! I don’t see it that way. Republicans, like Democrats, come in varieties. You said: “all campaign contributions from the Republican Party.”

    Why should Ebke refuse contributions from those corners in the big tent where the “Paulites” hang out?
    And why should she refuse contributions from others in HER party who are in agreement with her? In the post above we are advised that the Young Republicans are in Ebke’s corner of the tent on WTA. I don’t think of Ebke as anything but Republican. You seem to imply she is otherwise. Is it your opinion that elected Republicans MUST OBEY their party hierarchy?

  23. TexasAnnie says:

    Note to Y’all:
    I repeat, folks are waking up to the hypocrisy of both major parties. But having worked in the past with the Libertarians, I understand that 3rd parties cannot and will not make traction due to the election governance practices currently established. We will need folks like Ebke, and the continuing refusal of electors to register with the R’s and D’s, to overcome the status quo.

    And I do want to overcome the status quo! (And we should start with tax justice!!!)

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