But what was a bit of a revelation, and arguably changes things immediately in the race, was the introduction of Bacon by former Governor Kay Orr.
Now Nebraskans don’t go to the ballot box and immediately say, “Who is Kay Orr endorsing? That’s my candidate!”
And you can’t just say that Orr has the “Midas Touch” for candidates.
…she does have one heckuva recent track record in GOP primaries.
Deb Fischer in 2012.
Ben Sasse, Pete Ricketts and Doug Peterson in 2014.
There are plenty of other GOP endorers who don’t have those belt notches.
But probably the best thing that Orr does give a candidate, especially a relative unknown like Bacon, is credibility.
Who has any idea who Don Bacon is? (In broader circles, anyway.)
Who knows if he can put together a competitve campaign?
“Well, Kay Orr endorsed him…so he must be someone to pay attention to,” says Average GOP Voter (and Donor). At the very least he is not someone who can be immediately dismissed.
Donors will pay attention. The media will pay attention. And primary voters will now pay attention.
Bacon’s rollout was a very smooth event, and one that any political operative would be satisfied with. General Consultant (and former Deb Fischer for Senate manager) Aaron Trost and Mark Dreiling put together a precise and clear event that had people in a good room, that just spilled out the doorway (as you’d want it to).
Their logo is clear and simple, and they also have the bonus of a candidate with a very easy name. While “Bacon” is easy to host puns on, it’s not difficult to pronounce or remember — significant for a political unknown.
And the candidate?
Hey first YOU should listen to the Wheels Down Politics podcast for the FIRST post-announcement interview with Bacon.
In general (ha ha ha) he comes off as a very pleasant and kind person. When one thinks of an Air Force General, you probably think brusque and overly forceful. Bacon however comes off as an extremely nice person — and his kind descriptions of his present and potential primary opponents only enforced that.
He is immediately knowledgable about military issues, of course. His discourse on other political issues is a little more generic — especially after extreme detail about military issues — but one would expect that to change as the campaign goes forward. It would be surprising to find in a few months that he hadn’t really focused hard on a few more issues.
So with that intro and backing, one would have to almost immediately consider him a top-tier candidate for the #NE02 nomination.
Everyone is still waiting on Shane Osborn, and if anything Bacon’s introduction might give him some pause. If a nomination isn’t a slam-dunk for Osborn, it is possible he would consider other options that he has.
If Osborn does run, an interesting aspect is that military issues may be ceded to each of them, and could possibly cancel each other out. Bacon was certainly more of an administrator than Osborn, so maybe Offut type issues are different. But Osborn’s government and business experience may then be brought more to the forefront.
If state Senator John Murante decides to go forward with a run, he would arguably need to push out with a top Orr-type name to immediately give a campaign some juice. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
As far as we know Chip Maxwell is still planning a full run (at this point we would argue that he needs to re-announce, if he wants people to know that he is for-sure running). And we hear that while Dan Frei hasn’t made things oficially official, he is still more than likely.
Do Maxwell and Frei split voter groups? Do Bacon and Osborn? Bacon and Murante?
Is there another candidate out there who dives in to really split things up?
Are there enough donors?
Is it really only March?
In the last full post up, a quote was added from a source opining on how the Winner Take All vote could have been affected in committee:
“If Ricketts had done a better job of communicating with Murante he could have bottled it up longer in the Government committee and seen whether some trading could be done, or avoided the embarrassment.“
Another email was sent in, addressing that, so here is a bit of another view on all that:
I don’t agree with the above statement. As many readers know, the odds of a bill making it to the floor without a Senator having to burn a priority designation hinges almost entirely on if it gets out of committee early.
Had the bill died an early death like the Voter ID bill, then I could understand someone saying they should have delayed the bill to get all the ducks in a row before moving it. I would be more willing to fault the vote-counters had they passed the bill out of Committee and sent it to the floor if they knew they were a couple of votes short.
But Winner Take All MADE IT PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF DEBATE! The ducks were in a row! I’m just guessing here, but I would assume Senators McCollister and Ebke promised to vote for cloture (which they did in the first go around). Which means the action of moving it from committee to the floor was sound.
Holding it in the Government Committee wouldn’t have helped – if anything waiting on it would have forced Senator McCoy or Senator Murante to use a priority just to even bring it up. After that, it becomes an issue of keeping everyone in place – which is where things went south in this case. Spending a couple of weeks on ice in committee would not have helped shore up votes (especially when they clearly didn’t need them the first go-around). Instead, I think the exact same thing happens – it passes the first round, then Ebke and McCollister fold.
In my view, the Government Committee did a good job moving on it quickly and Senator McCoy did a good job getting it through the first round of debate (which was further than any other prior attempt, if I’m not mistaken). The fault doesn’t lie there. The fault lies in the two Senators who flip-flopped on their votes, in the Republicans in general for not being as united as the Democrats, and in the Governor’s people for not keeping an eye on the vote tally.
Remember that you can find the interview with Don Bacon — and Shane Osborn and Deb Fischer and Hal Daub and Andy Stebbing — and all of our podcasts at WheelsDownPolitics.com and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.
(Easiest just to subscirbe to the podcast on your iTunes app!)