Maxwell announces for #NE02

Maxwell announce 02Thursday morning, Chip Maxwell formally announced that he is running for Nebraska’s 2nd District Congressional Seat.

He did two different events, a morning “news conference” and a later “kickoff” event at UNO.

The attendance at the morning news conference was sparse.

I want to preface this by noting that I like Chip, I think his heart is generally in the right place. We both even went to the same high school and college (though our 4 years never overlapped) And he has some decent ideas.

But at this point, as near as I can tell, he has zero campaign organization and little to get him where he needs to be in order to make a real challenge to Don Bacon’s campaign for the Republican nomination.


Maxwell made his announcement at the Omaha Press Club, 22 flights up at the Downtown DoubleTree by Hilton. (Great view of Creighton and North Omaha out the window.)

Creighton and North Omaha

Joining me at the event were a cameraman and reporter from KMTV Ch. 3, and Margery Beck from the AP.

And Maxwell.

And that was it.

No supporters. No staff. No volunteers. No onlookers.
Just the 5 of us in a small room high up over Omaha.

Now granted, I was not at Maxwell’s later event at UNO. I assume he had more family and friends there. From new reports, there were more chairs filled up and maybe more media there.

But still…

In the morning, here was Maxwell’s room:

Maxwell announce 091015 03


And here was the room at Don Bacon’s announcement on a Wednesday morning back in March (more cameras set up on the right, out of picture):

Bacon announce 01

Now does the campaign kickoff mean Bacon would make a better representative than Maxwell? No.
But it does mean that Bacon has a campaign organization and is taking it very seriously.

Maxwell stated — on the day of his official announcement — that he is “still talking to people and organizing staff”…for a campaign that he announced, essentially, back in July of 2014.

That’s not to say he can’t have a “muscular campaign”, as he calls it. But shooting for January 2016 to be “busting out the door full throttle” of a full-fledged effort gives a very brief campaign season to tone those campaign organization muscles.


Maxwell did make some interesting points, particularly in regard to Bacon. He noted that he has much more legislative experience than Bacon. Though he did not note Congress’s responsibility regarding national security, military and foreign policy issues, in which Bacon has plenty of experience.

And he made a point about Birthright Citizenship, where he argued he differs from Bacon (saying Bacon argues we’d have to amend the Constitution).

And he noted that his main focus is on the danger of Deficit and the Debt, and he wanted to hammer that point. And it’s a good one.

Though during his 27 minute prepared statement, I don’t believe he offered any specific solutions on the issue.  I know he has written a book on the topic, and he has some bullet-points on his website. But this would have seemed as good a time as any to trot out a plan that could get the public’s attention.


But Maxwell had a few points of disconnect as well.

He addressed the issue of challenging Lee Terry last year as an Independent candidate — which he eventually dropped. He summed it up in much the same way he has on his campaign website:

If I could have written the script: Terry hands the baton to me and goes out a winner and statesman, and we hold the congressional seat.


Yes, it would have been awesome if the sitting Congressman, a subcommittee Chairman who had been in office for 16 years had just handed over the office. Who wouldn’t want that?

But Hollywood, and sometimes After School Specials, make those movies using that script. Not Members of Congress.

And many Republicans are still unhappy with the way things went down the last time.  They feel that Maxwell’s actions helped to create Congressman Brad Ashford. And they are not so quick to forgive and forget.


And then just for good measure, I asked Maxwell about his position on the Death Penalty repeal (though certainly less a Congressional issue than a state one).

He basically came down on the side of, mistakes can be made, so he doesn’t want to put people to death OR use the death penalty to get false convictions (pointing out the Beatrice Six).

That’s a legitimate argument on that issue, and I have no problem with that.

But he followed up saying, that assuming the signature petitions go through, he has no problem following the will of the people of Nebraska.

But he specifically did not sign the signature petition.
Because he wants the Death Penalty repeal to go through.
But he is fine with the will of the people, if they choose to keep the Death Penalty.

Which I get…

But on this point, let’s note the distinction:
You either want the Legislature to decide, or you want the Voters to decide.

Which is a separate issue from whether you are for or against the Death Penalty.

People can be for the Death Penalty, and not want the vote in 2016 because they believe the issue should be decided by the Legislature.

And people can be against the Death Penalty, and believe it should be decided by the voters.

But being against the success of the signature petition means you don’t want the people to vote on this issue. And if the only reason you don’t want the people to vote on the issue is because you might lose, then that’s not a principled decision.

That may be practical. But it’s political.
And Maxwell didn’t seem to want to concede that point.


And the Death Penalty and the Debt and Immigration and whatnot are all issues that can be debated.

And Maybe Maxwell can put a campaign together in the coming months.
Maybe he can get enough cash to be the answer to a well-funded and organized primary against Bacon.
Maybe Dan Frei’s efforts in 2014 show that you can have a shoestring budget against a well-funded candidate and still push through.


But if a candidate does not have a significant, serious organization to play on the big Congressional field, not much of that may matter.


Some various and sundry as we approach the weekend…

* If Chip Maxwell or Don Bacon want to see how difficult it is going to be to knock off Brad Ashford, just read Mike Kelly’s OWH column/love-letter about him. That won’t end from the OWH — unless there is some sort of strange primary challenge for Ashford (which I don’t see). Or possibly world or national events take over.

* I am generally loathe to even bring up an issue about a politician’s family. And I am not going to host a discussion on this subject, except to note this one point: I get that the OWH felt the need to report on the arrest of Shane Osborn’s son. And it’s hard not to note the office Osborn held, etc. But adding Shane’s photo to the story was absolutely unnecessary and completely unrelated to the story.

* On this anniversary of the attacks on September 11th, we all note where we were on that day, our reactions, and that we must never forget and continue to be on guard against those who hate us and our way of life.

It is interesting that there is already a new generation who have no real memory of those events. They have never seen the twin towers over New York, and assume airport security has always been crazy.

The museum and fountains at the base of the new Freedom Tower in lower
Manhattan provide a powerful and vivid memorial. But also a little closer, if you’re ever Dallas, swing over to the George W. Bush Presidential Library (on the S.M.U. campus), and see the well-documented, emotional account and display of the day that we will never forget.


  1. Res Judicata says:

    Sweeper, even though you are an expat, I think your constant position that people who refused to sign the DP petitions are anti-democratic or otherwise against the will of the people is interesting.

    Out of curiosity, do you make it a policy to sign all referendum positions that are offered to you? The logic holds the same, regardless of the subject matter.

    Let’s stop pretending that the non-DP petition signers are anti-democratic. Hurdles like the signature requirement are in place precisely because the elected Legislature should not be overturned willy-nilly. One can subscribe to representing the will of the people and believe that not every issue should be subject to popular vote.

  2. RJ,
    No. Try reading what I wrote.
    I am speicifcally talking about THIS issue.

    Do you think Voters or the Legislature should decide the Death Penalty issue?

    Whether you are for or against it is a separate issue.

    Now I of course understand the politics of it — if you’re against the Death Penalty, you might not want it under any circumstances — but that is a different point.
    And I never contended that being against it is per se anti-democratic.

    But THAT is the question I am asking of Maxwell: Who should decide? The Legislature or straight up by the Voters?
    And if you believe it’s the voters, you should support the signature petition process.
    – JK (aka SS)

  3. repentinglawyer says:

    Sweeper, agree that WH’s handling of Osborne’s son was unfair but paper has always been that way, enjoyed family guilt. In old age Kelly writes puff pieces, not sure more significance than that in article on Brad.

  4. Res Judicata says:


    Apologies, the nuance between something being anti-democratic and “organized voter suppression,” is lost on me.

    Everything you’ve said since about non-petition signers has been derivative of that. I get your argument, but if you’re going to say that opposing a public vote on an issue is voter suppression, give a clear reason why it’s not voter suppression to oppose referendums when you don’t want it on the ballot. The will of the people is the will of the people.

    Until then, it’s all too clear to your readers that you’re implying anyone who doesn’t want the DP on the ballot is a part of some anti-democratic cabal, which, let’s be honest, is ridiculous.

  5. Mark Andrews says:

    We can’t get interest in changing the Constitution for a good reason. There’s less-than-zero interest in monkeying around with the Constitutional definition of birthright citizenship. Not gonna happen, why talk about it except to recognize that – its not going to happen. Just like the recurrent stupidity of returning Nebraska to a bicameral state legislature. Yeah, right. There is no political support for any of this malarkey (sic).

  6. TM says:

    Maxwell’s kickoff event last night had a large number of people there, by my estimates around 100. I did not attend Don Bacon’s kickoff event, but judging by photos the demographics of those who attended Maxwell’s were significantly younger.

  7. Mark Andrews says:

    Why would a guy like Bacon, who has already embraced The Suck for an ungrateful Nation, lower himself to run for a seat in the U.S. House? What was the phrase from Star Wars, about a “hive of scum and villainy?” Ugh.

  8. Attendance says:

    I do know what is worse. Chip’s attendance or the Omaha Young Republicans attendance. At least put some mannequins in the seats. There was more Senators than audience members. I actual saw a few tumbleweeds roll by.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Nice group shot of Bacon’s entry, yet he still has the same five to twelve that show at every parade and a crowd that does not make. Speaking of love letters, yours for him, Sweeper, are duly noted. Maxwell has long worn out his welcome.

  10. It's called building a team says:

    Of course the same people attend parades for Bacon – it’s called building a team. If he never had the same people showing up, that would cause worry as it would indicate that no one is loyal to him.

    As for his parade groups, he consistently has the largest entries of any politician – not bad in an off year.

  11. why today? says:

    I like Chip, but I got to ask why did he announce today? Surely he knew that the news would be covering this day of remembrance. Odd timing.

  12. TexasAnnie says:

    I can’t FORGET that when Maxwell SERVED the people of Nebraska in the UNICAMERAL, some children with disability and some homeless children were locked out of school because an old statute was in conflict with Maxwell’s CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY to assure their education. A STATUTE, folks. He only had to get 29 other senators (for veto override) to work with him in overcoming the damage done by the Democrat Governor Ben Nelson. But Maxwell failed to do his constitutional duty. I sure hope y’all don’t send him to Congress, even though Maxwell’s FAILURE would fit right in there!!!

  13. TexasAnnie says:

    Same old all the time, ’cause I don’t want you to ever forget what offenses your governor(s) and legislators have done to the developmentally disabled there. They’re neglecting and abusing —even unto death, those taken into state custody and they’re doin’ it IN YOUR NAME!

  14. Anonymous says:

    8:49PM yesterday: “It’s called building a team.” Really? I thought the longer you were running the larger the “team” grew? No I think it’s called “lack of recruitment of volunteers” and ignorance on how to build a strong infrastructure with continuance growth.

  15. Anon says:

    12:59 pm today: You seem obsessed with Bacon’s parade groups, but you offer no commentary on how many people are in other candidate’s entries… or if other candidates are even attending parades. What gives? Do you have sour grapes about something? I saw both Bacon and Ashford in Ralston in July. Bacon had a good sized group and Ashford was respectable. I can’t imagine either Ashford or Bacon getting people to walk in a parade on a holiday unless they both had infrastructures.

    Also, both campaigns seemed to be having fun. I wish I could join them but I am too long in the tooth for these things. Maybe you should learn something from their positive attitudes instead of being bitter.

  16. Anonymous says:

    TA is personally responsible for what she irrationally deems is everyone else’s responsibility for wrecked human potential she herself wrecked. She is driven beyond sanity as one responsible and to pitied, should pity amount to something worthwhile. For her to be rational is to see her role in causing this tragedy and then kill herself, but she cannot because she needs to beg for money to sustain what must be sustained. Thus what is humiliating she insanely imagines fairness. And we all stand sad witness as moments of lucidity dive into bizarre rationalization; played out here where all but her see her coopting otherwise rational arguments to serve her denial of a reality she chooses not to accept.

    To that we say, grow up. Some of us have more blood on our hands than you can count in one dysfunctional child. And that’s the awful truth. If you want to have opinions worth stating, assess yourself and own what you have done. Build from there and not on your comforting delusions.

  17. TexasAnnie says:

    Mark Andrews: Well, Yeah. I guess he is:

    Next biennium educational spending growth in Nebraska for all categories of education….3%
    EXCEPT Special Education….2.5%

    August 4, 2015
    Seven years of federal oversight ended this week at the Beatrice State Developmental Center, the state-run home for people with disabilities that has long faced accusations of abuse and substandard care.

    August 28, 2015
    Less than a month after federal oversight of Beatrice State Developmental Center ended, an employee at the state-run home for people with disabilities has been arrested on multiple abuse charges.

    What do you call ‘abuse,’ Mark?

  18. Mark Andrews says:

    Dear Anon (above): Anyone who suggests someone off themselves – I quote your exact words, “kill herself” – has crossed a boundary of good taste, to say the least. Given the epidemic of suicide in our country, to say nothing of the immense burdens even complete strangers carry is uncharitable.

    It’s one thing to call out hyperbole, as I tried to do, perhaps poorly. Then there’s your post. The literal translation of “sarcasm” is “tearing flesh.” What a thing to succeed at.

  19. Mark Andrews says:

    Annie, fully aware that the chief executive is responsible the the actions of public employees of the executive branch, I’ll have to take your word that an employee at the Beatrice facility was arrested for something they did that meets the legal standard of abuse. I can only condemn it. By that definition the executive branch of government is equally responsible for every other violation of law and morality committed since Ricketts was sworn into office. But none of that must rise to the level of impeachment, does it?

    Unless the abuser is named “Ricketts” he or she will be held personally responsible for their (alledged) acts by law enforcement and the judiciary, just as they should be.

    I have a special needs child. My nephew has Down Syndrome. I probably get what you’re on about more than most people. I am sorry to say you’re incessant commentary has deafened me to your cause; I can only take so much of it. If you or yours were materially injured while you were in Nebraska I can only be sorry for that. Make use of whatever legal remedies are open to you. If that’s not the case and you’re making an appeal to what I’ll call “political reason,” you’ve more than had your say. Saying it again is clearly not impressing anyone else here, minute after hour after day after week after month after year. The result is compassion fatigue.

    In more recent news, Syria has been depopulated by half. The whole population – those in diaspora and those threatened by the hideous Assad regime and by Daesh is suffering horribly. That includes Syrians with Autism, with Down Syndrome, and the developmentally disabled. Do you agree they need our attention and help too?

  20. TexasAnnie says:

    Mark: You need not take my word about that employee at Beatrice. I read about it in a Nebraska newspaper. And you definitely don’t GET what I’m about: Until the abuse stops, someone, even if only me, must raise an objection. I’ve been watching two decades now and I’ve gotta’ tell ‘ya, the abuse and neglect never does stop in Nebraska. Are you assuming that Ricketts took office without realizing previous abuse and neglect at Beatrice? That the federal oversight was just unnecessary meddling? And that he assumed SPED funding was growing at the same rate as all other educational spending when his budgeteers put forth the numbers?

    Or do you KNOW, as I do, that Ricketts understands cutting funding and overlooking abuse of the developmentally disabled will go unchallenged and unnoticed in Nebraska? Like Heineman, Ricketts risks no political capital in this arena. Come to think of it, I don’t recall your outcry about such injustice!

    And finally, Mark, NO, I don’t think we should be doing anything for anyone else in the entire world until our federal government finally keeps it’s promise to fund excess cost of SPED! The promise was made so long ago that children have been born and aged out of school without ever receiving the promised benefit. How long should justice for the developmentally disabled take?

  21. Runza Idiot says:

    I’m glad to see Runza Boy instead of getting his job done in DC is handing out Runza’s in Memorial Stadium. I have never seen such laziness as a Senator as I have seen in Ben Sasse. He is an insider and he has not done crap while in office. Where is he on the Iran Treaty??? Yes Obama is trying to ram a treaty through the senate and republicans like Ben Sasse will not enforce the Constitution against Obama. Obama needs 2/3rds to get it passed not 40 Senators

  22. TexasAnnie says:

    Oh, and I meant to clarify, Mark, nobody abused or neglected my child while I lived there. They would not have dared! But I did witness neglect of other children at my child’s school and I did try to report those instances to the authorities.

    Yet someone, perhaps Anon @ 3:14, appears to believe that I made unjust demands on the taxpayers. Or that I believe my child was treated poorly. That is not, and never has been my complaint. My child received all that she was entitled to, —a free and appropriate public education, and nothing more. Just like the non-disabled children of Nebraska, eh?

  23. Felonious Monk says:

    Nebraska restored felons voting rights. Do we know if felons mostly register in Nebraska to vote Republican or Democrat? And can we get that broken down by crime committed?

    A Democrat embezzling would mean an art student able to do math and that’s as unlikely as a Republican loosening up long enough to get high.

    I expect Democrats sell dope. Republicans sell products to dopes at inflated prices which seem criminal.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Epidemic of suicide? That’s a crock of mush.

    People who commit suicide are intensively, myopically selfish and have the sort of introspective self salving faux character of one who bemoans epidemics of suicide.

    Heal thyself or get thee to the compost heap. Its a nice “green” end there. Or you too may grow up.

  25. Fanfare says:

    Trump says of Fiorina, “Look at that face!” At worst, he meant her uncanny resemblance to a horse.

    Fiorina however retorts, “I am proud of every wrinkle… the party of women’s suffrage.” — Say what?

    Trump didn’t say “wrinkles”. Trump is older than Fiorina. Wrinkles are Carly’s worry; a dainty feminine appearance obsession that she irrationally joins to a demand for women’s right to vote. Scratch this Republican CEO and out pops a Rosy O’Democrat-defending feminist who obsesses about her own wrinkles. That is so stereotypical of a dizzy feminist it is funny. In a Conservative race it is bizarrely hilarious.

    Trump scratches every bump to see if pus squirts out. Anyone could do that but none have until Trump.

    Trump is a negotiator. He cannot force anyone to say anything. He makes a comment that appears innocuous to all but the one whose trigger it trips. And suddenly we see a GOP CEO playing the liberal feminism card, a surgeon chiding Trump’s religion to the point of apology, a governor calling invading the USA is an “act of love”, and another going down swinging at Trump only to hit himself on the jaw. Trump senses their weakness, throws a comment their way, and as often as not they rise up and prove to the voters why they aren’t worth voting for.

    Trump’s GOP opponents feel they are being screwed by Trump. China and Iran screw Obama every day. Voters are tired of the USA being screwed. They want a President who will do the screwing for a change.

    Thanks, Donny. Whether or not you win, you are doing a public service.

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