After posting, Leavenworth St. received a statement from Ricketts for Governor campaign manager, Jessica Flanagain (formerly special adviser to the Governor for external affairs). See that statement at the bottom of the post.
So I got this one this morning:
Nebraska Governor (and Chicago Cubs co-owner) Pete Ricketts has…allegedly…apparently…been calling various people to form a committee to discuss whether he should run for President.
As you pick your jaw up off the keyboard, here’s what I have been told…or rather NOT told:
No word if this is about 2020 or 2024.
And that question is the real kicker.
So let’s hit the more logical route first:
Why start discussing an office that’s 7 years away now, when ANYTHING could happen between now and then? Why bring this up when word of this would get out very soon (like now)…only a month after Ricketts announced his re-election campaign for Governor?
Maybe he figures after former Speaker Mike Flood’s drop-out, he’s got the election in the bag, so no time like the present onto bigger and better things?
But 2024 is is so far away and just a little bizarre to actually open the Presidential run discussion.
Wouldn’t Ricketts be better off just doing his trade deals, cutting taxes, maybe an innocuous trip to Iowa to discuss the Missouri River? Possibly a more transparent trip to New Hampshire eventually?
Sure those are run-of-the-mill Presidential-campaign things to do. And to start a 2024 discussion would be more out-of-the-box-ish.
But starting a mini-committee to hash it out before the next election is even started?
So, how about 2020?
Well, timing-wise, 2020 would make a little more sense, right?
If Ricketts knew President Trump wasn’t going to run for re-election…
Because there’s no way Ricketts would challenge Trump in a primary (right?). Ever since Cruz dropped out of the 2016 Primary, Ricketts has been a Trump-guy through and through.
But there has been speculation that Trump won’t run in 2020. (Though probably more that he definitely will run…) It has been sort of off-handed, and not really supported by anything Trump has said or done. But it has been put out there.
And in the mean time, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse is making trips to Iowa, and not saying that he won’t run.
All this sort of leads to…what does Pete Ricketts know?
Has he had it hinted to him that Trump is not going to run, and now is the time to get things going?
Or maybe has it been hinted by Mike Pence that Pence will be needing a running-mate, but it’s gotta be a guy who seems Presidential, so get on board.
Think about that: Who could Mike Pence find who wouldn’t overshadow him personality-wise, has some cred…and ohbytheway has billions to spend?
But the kicker on a 2020 Ricketts run is…that would make the upcoming 2018 Governor’s campaign about electing…Lt. Governor Mike Foley for Governor. It would make it very awkward if the whole thing became, “yeah but you’re hoping to quit in 2 years“.
Ricketts would have to be extremely cocky about that not being an issue in his campaign — and maybe he is.
But that wouldn’t make it any less strange.
And just think how Trump would feel if someone else was getting out front on news of any plans he has for a second term. (Something tells me Trump likes to control his messages…)
Crossing the Rubicon…er…Missouri
And in the mean time, let’s not forget about Nebraska’s junior Senator, Ben Sasse, and his foray into Iowa over the weekend.
He was in Nevada (that’s nuh-VEY-duh, to you) near Ames talking to the Story County GOP. And of course when Sasse was asked about his 2020 intentions, he once again deflected, saying neither yes, nor no, nor maybe nor anything else related.
And Sasse didn’t reveal anything unusual or notable at this shindig. But speaking of Trump, he apparently sent along a letter to the Story Co. GOP:
Story County GOP Chairman Brett Barker came to the podium to read a letter from Trump to the audience in which the president praised Iowa’s commitment to his candidacy in 2016 and fondly recalled visits to nearby Ames.
But Sasse’s coy-ness about the whole thing makes one wonder what he is hearing in the halls of Congress and what the national politicos really think.
It’s all some heavy speculation.
But a Ricketts move — if it means 2020 — is a serious log on the fire.
All of this sort of begs the question…could Pete Ricketts be President of the United States? Is he qualified? Could he get elected?
Hey feel free to dive into that if you’d like. The current opinion seems to be, “well if Donald Trump can do it…” But Ricketts ain’t Donald Trump. Maybe he’s Mike Pence. Or Dan Quayle?
He may see himself as a baseball owner with a famous father who everyone underestimated but ran a conservative state up to being President.
Sound like anyone you know? (Cough..43…cough.)
Does it seem…likely? Boy, I don’t see it.
But tell that to the hundreds who have run– and lost — for President.
But the discussion of the points for “why”are much more interesting at this point.
Statement from the Pete Ricketts for Governor campaign:
Governor Ricketts is not considering a run for President, nor has he called anyone to discuss a committee, or even the idea of forming a committee. He is not thinking about a run for any office other than re-election as Nebraska’s Governor.
– Jessica Flanagain
(She goes on to give the standard, “committed to his job”, “not taking election for granted”, “supports the President”, “has best job in the world”, etc.)
Here is all we will say from here:
Leavenworth St. received this information from a trusted, respected source who is very confident in the details that are laid out above.
But, the Ricketts camp gives a full denial.
We will get back to you if there are further details.