Long time no talk. Much to get to as we get closer to Christmas/New Years (and a new Legislative session!)
Progressive Democrat Sen. Heath Mello recently held his official campaign kickoff and came out swinging, claiming Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s leadership has made Omaha terrible for millennials. This on the same day Mayor Stothert held a millennials forum where she outlined all of the “Top Ten” lists Omaha is on, including No.3 on “America’s 15 Best Cities for Young Professionals” (Forbes) and No.2 on the “Best U.S. Cities for Millennial College Students” (USA Today).
Senator Mello might be taking a page from the Hillary Clinton “vast, right-wing conspiracy” playbook, but we have a sneaking suspicion Omahans agree that Forbes and USA Today are legitimate sources and Omaha is doing just fine.
We are just a few short weeks away from a new Nebraska Legislative Session. Or, as conservatives like to call it: the months we lose sleep over tax increases.
Here are a few things to watch:
- What happens on the first day of Session in the battle over open votes? Sen. Chambers has pledged to filibuster indefinitely (reading his “Kintner-grams for hours on the floor if necessary) if open votes are pushed. Do Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to fight back, or will they find other avenues to get it passed? Rumor has it that, if given a vote, the rules change would be close.
- Do Democrats get many Committee Chairmen, or do Republicans fight back? While many Dems have publicly said little, behind the scenes it’s nuclear war over chairmanships. (Ask any of the newly-elected Senators how much mail/calls they’ve received from folks lobbying for votes) Does a GOP-dominated Legislature give them the ribbing the Dems deserve for their pride?
- How does the Unicam address the almost $1B budget shortfall? Progressives like Renee Fry at the liberal Open Sky Institute want tax increases (through expanding the sales tax base, primarily) to make up the gap, but conservatives want a combination of tax reform and fiscal discipline. Will moderate Republicans decide to fight for the actual Republican Party platform?
(Sensing a theme yet with these questions?)
- Finally, what happens with Kintner? Dems are saying they will push for an expulsion vote, which would place Republicans in a tight spot. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans decide to do. Few people think the votes are out there to actually kick Kintner out, but we are sure the Dems would love an opportunity to prosecute Sen. Kintner on the floor and grandstand for NET.
Bud Says Goodbye:
The Nebraska Republican Party had its last State Central Committee Meeting of the 2016 cycle this weekend and honored retiring Executive Director Bud Synhorst for his service to the Party. Bud (serving under Chairmen JL Spray and Dan Welch) oversaw very successful elections in 2014 and 2016. While not all of the Republicans elected have voted like it enough for many conservatives, the Party exists to elect Republicans, and Bud did that very well.
Thank you for your service, Bud. We all hope you get to watch a great many more baseball games now!
Who will replace Bud? The rumor mill is spinning, with Party stalwarts Patrick Roy (who worked for Deb Fischer ’12, Dan Welch ’13, Bart McLeay ’14, and at Northstar most recently), Kenny Zoeller (Sasse in ’14, Advisor to Gov. Ricketts since then), and Rod Edwards (who has managed many Leg. Races) among the names being tossed around. Stay tuned, b/c this will be interesting…