A Salute to the Volunteers
Last night, 300 of our state’s most committed and hardworking political volunteers gathered at the Omaha Hilton to mark the NEGOP’s Founders’ Day — an annual tribute to the party faithful who do the yeoman’s work knocking on doors, walking in parades, and making phone calls for candidates they believe in.
These Nebraskans are some of our best. They embody the kind of civic engagement and respectful participation in the democratic process we need more of around the country.
Governor Pete Ricketts brought his buddy and fellow businessman-turned-governor of Arizona Doug Ducey as the keynote. Ducey did a nice job walking through Nebraska’s many successes and recounted his own disbelief on Election Day 2016 when Donald Trump turned the political world on its head. Ducey was affable, self effacing, and ended with a call to grow the party. Can I get an Amen?
It was a gathering of Nebraska political heavyweights. There was a lot of love in the room for Senator Deb Fischer as she reminded us of her deep love for Nebraska while introducing Governor Pete Ricketts. Don Bacon and his indefatigable enthusiasm were both present and accounted for, as was the ever congenial Adrian Smith, Jeff Fortenberry, Jean Stothert, Rita Sanders, Aimee Melton, and many, many other electeds who had gathered to say thank you to the men and women whose blood, sweat, and tears give them the chance to govern.
Ben Sasse was not there, but had a letter read. Many in the room were hoping to hear from him on the upcoming healthcare bill, but alas his schedule required him to be elsewhere. Rumor has it he was in Cali with donors – surf’s up!
The energy and organization of the NEGOP was on full display last night. With marquee races for the Governor, US Senate, 3 House seats, all of the constitutional offices, and 24 seats in the legislature, Nebraska Republicans are ready to get to work, and make no mistake, they are ready to rumble.
Kleeb on the Ropes
It’s also worth noting that the Nebraska Dems still can’t land candidates to enter most of the statewide races — most glaringly, the race for GOVERNOR. And oddly, the NDP twitter account is shilling for independent candidate Bob Krist. Weird, right? Do they realize Krist will also be looking to take down their future standard bearer, if they can find one? Or has Kleeb just given up?
I hear she is considering a bid herself, but presumably she is shrewd enough to know she is too extreme to ever win a statewide race. A loss would tarnish her brand, so my guess is she stays on the sidelines. Safer that way.
Not sure Jane Kleeb can claim to lead a credible statewide party without a candidate for governor. Conversations with traditional Democrat party stalwarts in both Lincoln and Omaha over recent weeks continue to lay bare the mistrust and skepticism with which Kleeb is viewed. Her extreme views on issues from abortion to Keystone and her disregard for hardworking union members have pushed many old school Democrats out.
Bernie’s Back in NE Politics
Did anyone else catch that the NDP Twitter account endorsed Bernie Sanders’ single-payer government run healthcare scheme? Quite a statement for the state party.
Serious question: Was that party position discussed at a committee meeting or just trigger happy Jane going on gut? My bet’s on the latter, but please enlighten me if this was debated and agreed upon by the state party.
Kara Eastman, who is eager to pass any litmus test the left can throw her way, was quick to get in formation and support Bernie. Brad Ashford is still polling, no doubt, but made some incoherent rumination expressing concern on it. And not a peep from the Nebraska Democrat Senate candidate, Jane Raybould. Surprise, surprise.
Anyone who is unsure of a position on this should call Heath Mello and ask him how Bernie’s magic worked out for him. I hear has a lot of time on his hands.