Voting in Lock Step

Mello - Nordquist - lockstep
Democrat state Senators Mello & Nordquist in lock step

From the LJS’s Don Walton in his Monday column:

“…this is a Legislature whose members are free and independent…”

“…judgments without regard to partisan dogma or party caucuses or dictates…”

“…no whips in the Nebraska Legislature…”

“…party identification doesn’t matter…”

“…the Legislature expressed its fundamental nonpartisan and institutional independence…”

Is that right?

Because longtime reader and Washington County Chair, and 1st Dist NEGOP Chairman John Orr recently whipped up some totals on issues before the Unicameral.

Here is what he came up with…

2015 NELEG Scorecard

This is an interesting document to peruse.
But before you go through the whole thing, direct your eyes down to the Democrats at the bottom.

On these votes, Democrats in the legislature are nearly in LOCK STEP.

Doesn’t look that way

Partisan and dogmatic?
Well, of course.

Party ID doesn’t matter?

Ha! If the Republicans voted this way, all we would be hearing is about the “partisan, ideological Republicans” who “only vote as they’re told…”

But when the Dems go that route?
Well, they think it’s awesome!

At least Don does.


And following up on that, another line from The Don:

“Democrats continue to say privately that their relationships with the governor are collaborative, positive and friendly.”

Oh, isn’t that awesome!

How’d those votes go for the Dems??
Just as they wanted?

Maybe, just maybe, these hyper-partisan Dems should be feeling not as positive about the Republican Governor…

As a partisan put it in an email over the weekend, “The Governor can count to 33. If he doesn’t put in a little more effort on the front end of these votes, his influence on the back end is nil.”


Here is an interesting one for you Party goers:

The Douglas County Republican Party (DCRP) has a Central Committee meeting on May 26th.

Their featured speaker is…Chip Maxwell!

Apparently Chip is sticking with his plan to run for the GOP nomination for the 2nd District Congressional seat in 2016. (Did we miss the rollout?)

In any case, not everyone in the 2nd District leadership is into Chip.

Sarpy County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Anderson sent out an email to his list, and noted this about Chip:

Chip changed his Party affiliation to Nonpartisan or Independent late December 2013 and seems to have changed it back to Republican.

I don’t intend to allow him to speak at any of our Central Committee meetings as I don’t consider him to ‘really’ to be a Republican. He changed it then so that he could run as a Nonpartisan or Independent.

He is another Brad Ashford that was a Registered Republican, Independent and now a Democrat.

I believe that we should stop supporting those that change Parties to run as Republican to get elected, here in Sarpy County.

While this is essentially in response to Maxwell speaking before the DCRP, Anderson notes that he isn’t trying to wage battle with them…

I am not passing any judgement on what the DCRP does as they can certain run their Party anyway they want. I am on the State Endorsement Committee and one of the changes we came up with is that you have to be a registered Republican for 3 years before an endorsement could be given. Recommend that we adopt this requirement.

I also believe that any Congressional District 2 candidate needs to provide written statement that they will swear that they will publicly endorse the 2016 Republican Primary winner.

I was forwarded Anderson’s email from an anonymous source who feels that Anderson is going overboard, and shouldn’t be preventing a GOP candidate from speaking.


Not sure what those bylaws say — and probably don’t say — about who gets to have the final say on speakers. Though those Sarpy Countians could probably  find him speaking somewhere else, if they really wanted to. Or have him personally call them, frankly.

But, as Hyman Roth said, “This is the business we’ve chosen!”

Chip could have stayed with the party.
He could have endorsed Lee Terry right after the 2014 primary.
No one made that decision for him.

And Anderson’s point about being a registered Republican for 3 years is also an interesting one — given that there are certainly political animals in Nebraska who know that it can be very difficult for Democrats to get elected.

Politics isn’t beanbag, and Chip Maxwell certainly knew that going in. If you take a tricky stance, you have to be prepared to defend it. And frankly, his universe is much broader than the Sarpy County GOP anyway.

But Anderson makes a legitimate point.
Or at least one to discuss.


I attended the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner on Saturday, and let me tell you that it was the place to be if you are a Republican in America.

Every single person there had access to talk to, get a photo with and otherwise rub elbows with Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump (as well as Rand Paul and George Pataki)! All within an area of about a large gymnasium (in a nice convention center).

And the candidates were willing to give you, pretty much, all the time you wanted. They hung around.

It was an Augustus Gloop at the chocolate river moment for politicos (pre-suction tube, that is). I will do my best to put you into the moment, over the next few days, after I have put together all of my media.

In the mean time, you can listen to my short interview with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He said a few things that should really stir things up should he gain a little more traction, particularly in Iowa.

Be sure to listen, and come back for more on the event.


  1. Anonymous says:

    The DCRP is an absolute joke for allowing Maxwell to speak. Yes, I know he’s the chosen candidate of Jon Tucker and his Big Liberty friends, but good god Jon! At least TRY to be a unifier, or you’ll be no better than Scott Petersen or Bryan Baumgart.

  2. Hesdeadjim says:

    Sweeper, I couldn’t agree more RE: “non-partisanship”

    I have said for years that anything “non” or “bi” partisan is code for “get the republicans to vote like democrats half the time and get the democrats to vote with republicans (as long as those republicans are voting like democrats)”

    It’s especially tragic to see some of the Freshman senators (note the capitalization) falling in with the wrong crowd. I feel like a high school principal watching the 9th graders who quit the team and start smoking pot. Hilkeman, Kuehn (who ran unopposed as a Republican), and Lindstrom are pretty disappointing so far.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It should be noted that although Kuehn ran unopposed, it’s not as if he was a Democrat who registered as a Republican to get elected when he saw the chance. Kuehn is generally conservative.

    His voting record just shows how weak he is when a senior senator knows his name and leans on him a little. I wish our governor would learn to lean on people like that.

  4. Joe Bob says:

    Walton also said in that column: “But last week provided a clear reminder that Nebraska’s nonpartisan legislative system might offer the purest form of representative government.”

    If our Unicameral is the purest form of representative government, my question is, whom are the Republican senators representing? It’s surely not the people who elected them.

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    You are seriously going to bash Jon Tucker for playing favorites? Seriously? He had Don Bacon speak at the last DCRP meeting and now will have the other announced candidate, Chip Maxwell, speak. Chip is speaking because it appears Jon DOESN’T want to play favorites and only have one person speak. Come on people.
    I personally support Don Bacon for CD2 and have no problem with Chip coming to speak at DCRP. I am going to grill him with tons of tough questions, though….

  6. Ben says:

    It’s time to go back to the two house partisan legislature. This is the only way to correct the issues in the legislature today. Remember, the one house nonpartisan legislature was given to us by ‘Fighting Liberal’ George Norris.

  7. Come on says:

    If you are doing a “scorecard”, you can’t stop keeping score at the end of the 6th inning because the score is what you want it to be. This is a mere snippet of the “Conservative” issues that have faced the body this year. It is obvious this was manufactured to appeal to those who are simply not paying attention to the Legislature and base their entire political opinions on the rants of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

    First of all, the public vote and Voter ID bills were introduced by Kintner and Larson, respectively, which essentially removes all credibility from those bills. If there is any hope of those two issues being passed in the Legislature, you’re going to need members that are not bumbling idiots carrying that legislation.

    Additionally, not included are votes on countless partisan bills such as the personal property tax exemption, gay rights protection, wind tax credits, or one of the most significant social issues: gambling.

    You can not just take a snapshot of something and pass it off as the ultimate and final “this senator is a Republican and this senator is a Democrat”. That is lazy, libelous, and poor action from an individual who identifies himself as a “leader”. Vince Powers move if I have ever seen one.

  8. DCRP CCCP Member says:

    I would like to add that I am pretty sure Jon Tucker really likes whoever he think will give him more power…. It will be interesting to see how the mice scatter when a legitimate challengers name comes out.

  9. Hesdeadjim says:

    “Additionally, not included are votes on countless partisan bills such as the personal property tax exemption, gay rights protection, wind tax credits, or one of the most significant social issues: gambling.”

    Gay rights protection and gambling are not partisan bills. Those two issues are very much non partisan.

  10. to Concerned Citizen says:

    Yes, I will go after Tucker for allowing Maxwell to speak, primarily because Chip is an opportunistic jack$#@ with no sense of party loyalty or even common courtesy. And I’m not just talking about the 2014 congressional race..

    And if Maxwell is an announced candidate, why hasn’t he filed anything with the FEC since the summer of 2014? Why doesn’t he go to any party events or meetings? He should have been spending the last 6-7 months mending some bridges, but I have heard nothing until now. So to me (and what I tell non-politicos), Maxwell is just a wacko fringe candidate, and it makes me angry that the DCRP is wasting time on letting him speak.

  11. to Concerned Citizen says:

    Also, if Tucker doesn’t want to even appear playing favorites, then why let Jean speak at the same meeting as Bacon but let Chip have the whole night to himself?

  12. Bob Loblaw says:

    Why is voting to keep the death penalty listed as a conservative issue? I didn’t realize that conservatism meant that you were in favor of giving the state the ultimate power to take away a citizens life? The only power that we can give to the bureaucrats that can’t be corrected.

    I mean who wouldn’t want to give the dept of corrections and the court system this power. They’ve done such a bang up job running the prisons, calculating sentences, solving the Beatrice 6 murder, keeping Nikko Jenkins off our streets, etc. YAY Government!! Let em all fry. The state never makes mistakes.

  13. DCRP CC Member says:

    So you’re saying that Jon Tucker/DCRP need to play favorites in order not to play favorites…. Huh.
    Bryan Baumgart played favorites in 2014 and we saw how that turned out. Jon Tucker appears to want to move past that and is inviting all the declared CD2 candidates to speak.
    I for one don’t like a DCRP Chairman to decide who is a “better” candidate and who is a “fringe” candidate. There is too much room for abuse.
    If there are only two announced candidates, they both get a chance to speak. And we, as CC members, have a chance to rip into Chip at the meeting for being all the things you say he is.
    Why don’t we show up, have some fun, and demonstrate why Chip isn’t a good candidate. Maybe we can convince him to drop out.

  14. TexasAnnie says:

    I don’t recognize the names of most of the senators, nor their expected voting patterns. But I do take exception to an idea that Republicans MUST vote as the chartmaker deemed appropriate to gain the “conservative rating.” And since I notice that a least a few Republicans on the list voted otherwise than the chartmaker’s expectation, while still voting in agreement with Republican ideals (by-laws) I figure there must be something wrong with the chartmaker’s expectation!

    And besides, not all of the those listed ‘Democrat’ are in fact Democrats. So much for chartmaking!

  15. to Concerned Citizen says:

    How about the DCRP limit invitations to candidates who are Republicans? Or at least don’t change their party seeming every election?

    And I dispute your statement that Tucker is moving beyond playing favorites. Look at the LD chairs…pretty much all the same libertarian cronies of Petersen and definitely of Baumgart. The exec board, pretty much the same from Baumgart’s miserable term. Not to mention the fact that we are still A YEAR AWAY from the primary. Why not wait till the fall/winter when we have a better idea of who is actually running?

  16. to DCRP CC Member says:

    I for one don’t like that Paulista Jon Tucker being the leader of this county’s party. The mere fact that Chip “I’m not running…oh wait, I am!” Maxwell is invited to speak is a tacit approval of his gutless tactics this last election. For that matter, I’m not a big fan that someone is running for office and being ED of the county party at the same time…

  17. anonymous says:

    Jerry Anderson’s got to go! Promising to endorse the Republican nominee – regardless of who it is – is a terrible idea! Look at all the liberal Republicans in Lincoln – if you’re willing to endorse anybody just because of the R behind their name, than you must not really care about limited government. And Jerry Anderson is saying that’s the ONLY type of candidate he’ll even consider letting speak in Sarpy County! Come on, man! If this party ever wants to move forward, we’ve got to move on from old grumps like him.

  18. The Shadow says:

    There is very little respect in the Unicameral for the three or four Senators who make up the Conservative “brain trust”. More whining and name calling than leadership. That’s why we are where we are at.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nebraska is not going back to a bicameral legislature any time soon. What Republican is going to advocate for it? Not one. Like it or not such a move can be seen as an unwarranted expansion of government, never mind the fact that a house & senate were the norm, and have a state constitutional basis. Politically unsupportable and practically untenable.

  20. I wouldn’t mind the Sarpy GOP actually getting some sort of endorsement policy or bylaw in place governing it. The 3 year thing is a pretty decent idea, I’m glad the State party is thinking about adopting something like that. It certainly would prevent Brad Ashford from switching to Republican and forcing all other challengers out of the State’s Party endorsement list.

  21. Macdaddy says:

    We have over 50% of Republicans voting conservative less than 50% of the time. Somebody call the Henry Doorly Zoo. We got RINOs running loose everywhere!

  22. John S McCollister, where for art thou? says:

    John S. McCollister rated a ZERO and has only to change his voter registration to formalize it. ERNIE CHAMBERS has a more conservative voting record, and he’d “shoot a cop!”

  23. Ed S says:

    Not sure why TA thinks “not all of the those listed ‘Democrat’ are in fact Democrats.” I went over the list fairly carefully and found no instance of misrepresentation of Dems. Maybe I missed something.

    Now if you want to talk about “faux Republicans” … then that’s a whole different kettle of crappies. Names like Hadley, McCollister, Williams, Krist, Campbell, Schumacher and Davis leap briskly to mind … as well as a few others.

    It seems obvious that a “nonpartisan” legislature (especially a single house legislature) is a liberal’s wet dream – they can cloak themselves in whatever pseudo-ideology is politically expedient during the election, and, once elected on the basis of such false pretensions, proceed to do whatever the hell their goofy collectivism demands. Our state is turning the Founders’ notion of checks-and-balances into a grotesque sideshow.

    I am not a fan of party politics in general but I wonder if brawling parties might be preferable to Nebraska’s current plight of no recourse against lying politicians and their willful misrepresentations.

    I’d like to pee on George Norris’ grave … but I hate standing in line.

  24. To Senator McCollister says:

    You are no different than Brad Ashford. I supported you, gave you money, you promised you were a conservative and how do you treat the people that put you in office? You vote with the Democrats. Good luck in your next election, I will not support you again.

  25. To above says:

    You need to add mandatory min. sentences and this crazy idea of adding omaha public schools failing pension becoming a state problem.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Our taxes are going up, we’re about to lose the death penalty, and the legislature is nearing the approval of the sale of an illegal prescription drug that is not FDA approved. Our legislators neither fear nor respect the Governor, and it’s quite apparent that this crop of freshmen (save for Joanie Craighead) sold us a bill of goods during their campaigns. But hey, at least we have cigar bars!

  27. to Ed S says:

    Ernie Chambers is not a Democrat.

    If the posts made here are any indication, the Republican Party is in a lot of trouble. Do you really think it’s productive to insist that more than half of the Republicans in the Legislature are RINO’s? It’s rather arrogant to insist that anyone who isn’t registered as a Republican is a Democrat by default.

    When everyone is finally satisfied that they’ve excluded everyone who isn’t willing to walk in lockstep with THEIR position on the issues the Republican Party will be able to hold their state convention in a small outhouse in Arthur County.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This scorecard fails to even include Medicaid Expansion, a defining conservative issue. And it’s designed to mislead. Murante has always opposed the death penalty, albeit on the catholic/prolife argument; on the one round where he cast a vote this year he voted to repeal the death penalty. But this childish effort- by the uncle of the Governors staffer- tries to mislead. And it’s not even clear why. But this is the inherent problem with taking kids from the campaign to the administration. They play politics and act like it is about winning instead of governing.

  29. dondedondon says:

    I have a few days left on my cell phone. I am going to let it die. I hope it does. Lest it live on in a ghostly state where political surveys haunt the living with ethereal ringing.

    They say old people wake up decades after their cell phone is long dead, itching where it used to be glued to their ear and trying to answer just one more political solicitation.

    How will my government track me without it? And what will it be like to not be one of the 39% who use their phone on the toilet and the 19% who have dropped it in? Indeed, how will I punctuate conversations with elected officials without being able to add an emphatic flush sound?

    Which brings me to Don Walton. (Flush sound.)

  30. Ed Stevens says:

    To Anony-Mouse at 10:11

    Well of course Ernie isn’t a Democrat … had you bothered to read the referenced document closely you might have noticed that Orr clearly states that those names in CAPITAL LETTERS were either Democrat OR INDEPENDENT.

    And, just for the record, I don’t much care whether someone is Republican, Democrat or left-handed Rosicrucian – that person ought to be willing to state his/her position/intentions/political inclinations clearly and honorably; we have lots of folks in the Unicam (mostly Republicans) who refuse to do that, and they need to be called out for it.

    And they also should be willing to take responsibility for their actions and opinions – which includes not hiding behind anonymity – a character attribute which you clearly lack.

    By the way, the “outhouse in Arthur County” line was clever … made me chuckle.

  31. Hypocrisy, Thy Surname is Orr says:

    Women squatting over statues of gnomes? That is the standard of the self proclaimed arbiter of Nebraska conservatism as presented on social media. All conservatives should follow “lock step” in his lead. Maybe they can serve as many terms as his mother.

  32. TexasAnnie says:

    Ed: Whaaat? Wherein does Orr “clearly state” (as you did not) that names in capital letters are EITHER Democrat or Independent?

    Although the scorecard does include Medicaid expansion, it does not include the cost of social engineering, -such as directed but disproportional property tax relief on the backs of income & sales taxpayers. Every time the unicam creates new holes in the tax code there is an added burden to the remaining taxpayers. And, there is an added bureaucracy. I should think a column illustrating this cost and growth is at least as appropriate as the column for Medicaid expansion. Yes? No? Both are welfare.

  33. Ed S says:


    Right you are … the Orr document consists of two (2) pages, the second of which Sweeper did not include in his posting – not sure why (you’d have to take that up with him). I am on several “conservative” email listings and I received the Orr document independently from Leavenworth Street. The second page is a textual exposition of the conclusions indicated on the first, including the qualifier stating that Dem were in capital letters.

    So if you are not on the pertinent email listing, you of course could not have seen that second page, ergo you could not have known about the qualifier, and I owe you, and perhaps others, an apology – mea culpa.

    As to your soliloquy on Medicaid expansion, tax relief et al, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  34. Conflict of Interest says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that Jessica M was running around telling senators that its ok to vote for the gas tax increase all while her husband is lobbying for a major infrastructure project?

    Seems to me it’s going to be pretty hard for Ricketts to get anything done when his ‘adviser’ is running around whipping votes against him.

    What other active lobbying contracts does Jessica or her husband have?

  35. Bob Loblaw says:

    To: 4:44

    I don’t know Jessica M. But if she’s on the Governors staff, then shes up for criticism.

  36. Unicameral Watcher says:

    Jessica has no clout here. The governor has no pull as the Senators can get to 30 votes on most issues.

  37. Anon says:

    The talk of DCRP and NEGOP and personalities of the same hit the same chord of the remark of talking about the Unicam on the internet. A republican party does not seem to exist

  38. Jerry Anderson's got to go, Part Deux says:

    Jerry, Jerry, JERRY! You are old and out of touch. When on gawd’s green earth did you get the silly idea that WINNING elections was the objective of the Republican Party? You silly old man! WE’RE NOT HERE TO WIN. WE’RE HERE TO MAKE A POINT! Now please, get out of the way, step down, and let John Tucker get on with Brad Ashford’s re-election. Hurry along now, please.

  39. The Eye Ball says:

    Anderson may be 100 percent correct in his thoughts on Maxwell, but he is 100 percent wrong in the action to stop Chip from speaking. It is that sort of abuse of political party power which needs to be stopped. Let party members hear Chip out.

    I am still stunned of political party leaders who think they can get away with such naked aggression in the political sphere.

    As far as the scorecard, I think some of you are stretching a point. The transparency on committees and winner-take-all issues were more about Republican partisanship than anything else. The conservative agenda would have moved forward but the local Chambers of Commerce groups really were screwed up on the issues.

    As for the death penalty, it has been doomed for years. The government simply cannot argue the case of self defense in carrying out an execution which is why some many people come up with other opinions on when or when not to the use the death penalty. The result is a system which just does not work. Get rid of it.

  40. Macdaddy says:

    Anon 10:11: I expect lawmakers to vote how I want them to vote. The current crop of Republican Senators votes against me over 50% of the time. If they won’t support conservative issues, what’s the point of having them in office? Why have a Democrat-lite when you could have the real thing? They ought to quit lying to the voters, show some integrity, and switch their party affiliation back to Democrat. The only reason they got elected in the first place is because they lied about being a conservative and they lied about being a Republican. They are a bunch of liars and the party ought to bounce them out for the next election.

  41. TexasAnnie says:

    No Macdaddy. The only reason they got elected in the first place is not because they lied, it’s because the media(s), proponents like SS and JSA, bureaucrats and party politics promoted the lies. Tell me a lie once and I’ll consider it’s merits BEFORE believing. Tell me a lie a thousand times and I’ll likely take it for truth without needed consideration. That’s how our culture (American) recreates itself.

    Macdaddy, it is a LIE that taking tax dollars from one to feed another is justice. It is a LIE that taking tax dollars from one to create an economic opportunity for another is justice. But here in America, Both major political parties act on these lies as essential truths. And the lies are true enough, for party politics that is.

  42. @the eye ball says:

    You’re right, transparency on committee votes and winner take all are very much partisan issues. What’s wrong with partisanship? I am a Republican because I am a partisan. I’m not a conservative independent, I am a partisan. It’s us against them. I don’t want any democrats elected because I think they’re wrong, plain and simple. Democrats are wrong and Republicans are right.

  43. Don't worry Eyeball! says:

    Republicratic State Sen. Jim Smith is “tied up in knots” according to Deena Winter this morning. Appears that all that horse trading he had to do to get his tax increase has become painful. Probably feels like a political kidney stone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.