Author: Street Sweeper

BREAKING: Cornhusker Hat Trick

Charles Herbster 03Breaking first on Leavenworth Street!

Well that didn’t take long.  I had a call from a high-up Republican operative that Nebraska maybe represented very well in and around the Trump Administration.  

We previously know that Dave Heineman and Charles Herbster were possible candidate for Agriculture Secretary, but as of the afternoon the picture has become more clear.  

Heineman 901.jpgAccording to my source Former Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman is being strongly considered as Chair of the RNC.  Charles Herbster is on the short list for Agriculture Secretary.  

Finally, a dramatic surprise, Senator Deb Fischer is being discussed as Secretary for Transportation.  That possibility makes sense as Deb Fischer has experience in transportation issue and President–Elect Trump has placed an infrastructure bill as one of his top legislative priorities.  

Deb Fischer 1202Leavenworth Street will keep you posted on these events



What a year it’s been, yeah?

Actually it’s been closer to 11 years here at Leavenworth St.

Since I first started writing on Leavenworth St. back in January 2006 — first under the moniker Street Sweeper, before announcing myself — I have nary taken a week off. (There might have been a summer break a few years ago, but that was brief.)

I have posted from all places, at all times. I posted while on a trip to Europe a few years back — taking advantage of the hotel’s business center in the wee hours to write about some breaking Governor news. I posted the day my kids were born. I’ve posted on the day of funerals.

And of course over the past two years I have posted nearly daily on Leavenworth St. as well as podcasts on

But, as I stated on Monday of this week, no matter what the outcomes on Election Day, I had an announcement. And with that, this coming Monday, I am going to take a break from Leavenworth St.

However, Leavenworth St. will not be taking a break from you.

While I am on an approximately 6-month sabbatical from this site, Leavenworth St. will still be up and running, continuing as the talk of Nebraska politics.

But how?

I will be handing over the keys to a Managing Editor, who will have 100% editorial control over Leavenworth St. and all who inhabit it. There may be guest posts. And of course there will be commenters — who need to continue to follow the commenting rules.

But I will be out for around a half-year, as far as any writing or editorial control is involved.

(I haven’t quite decided how I will work-out the Twitter handle “@LeavenworthSt”, as I would still like the ability to comment on the Twitter. I’ll let you know, one way or the other.)

So who will take the reins?

Well, back in the days, every local politico, it seemed, was accused of being “Street Sweeper.” And I ended up selling coffee mugs (luckily, I don’t have crates of them filling my garage) that read, “I am Street Sweeper” — with a nod to a certain Kirk Douglas movie.

So with that in mind, your new editor and moderator will be…only known as…Spartacus.

And Spartacus will take over this coming Monday.

And with that, au revoir! Until we meet again!


Oh…and as long as I still have one post in me…this:

Wild times

baconsHas everyone calmed down yet?

That was a wild two days.

An ecstatic super-early morning for Trump fans, and then a late-morning victory for Don Bacon.

No one said it was going to be easy defeating an incumbent Congressman, but Don Bacon was sincerely the right person for the job. A complete outsider, in a race that mimicked the Presidential race on that point. Ashford had been in office about as long as Hillary had, and he also had a dearth of ingrained, hard-core Democrat support, much like Hillary’s campaign.

I always think back to overhearing two Dem politicos sitting at a table in Omaha last year, one saying to the other, “Ashford isn’t REALLY one of us.”

And Ashford tried to play that to the hilt. And it got him very, very close.

But this year it wasn’t close enough.

And maybe it doesn’t always come through on TV or in commercials, but Don Bacon is a really, really, REALLY nice guy. Like Mike Riley-nice. But he’s a General, so it’s not as if he can ever be seen as pushover-nice.

But he’s the kind of perfect guy to represent Nebraska.  And I have no doubt that citizens will be proud of him and the work he does.


Keep cool

And the Trumpster? Er…President-Elect The Donald?

Look Republicans, have a little sympathy for your Democrat brethren who are going through many stages of grief right now. I know my Facebook timeline — which is filled with actual friends — has many Democrats who are calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. And for the Electoral College to ignore the results. And to march in the streets. Lots of stuff about yoga…that I don’t really follow.

Point is, it’s always good to have friends with different perspectives. And it’s also the best to have friends with whom you can disagree on politics, and still have a great relationship. So give those friends and family and colleagues some breathing room over the next few days to sort out their own thoughts.

And touchdown dances are not necessary.

Act like you’ve been there before.

Someone tell them you do this BEFORE the election…

Now that being said, I get Facebook.

But the people in the streets? Breathlessly screaming “Not my President!” or, one of the nicer signs of the weekend, “Tuck Frump!”

And I’ll just throw this one out, but the “protest” in Omaha invited people to come down …and create their own signs there! Plenty of white board and giant Sharpies!

And all I’m saying…is that SOMEONE had to pay for that stuff. Yes, the angry mob still has to show. But I won’t be surprised to hear that deep-pocketed instigators paid for the torches and pitchforks.

And as many have stated on the Twitter, they’re protesting…what exactly?




Interesting results from across the state.

Tom Brewer wins out west over Al Davis.
Judiciary Chair Les Seiler loses in Hastings.
Mike Hilgers wins in Lincoln.
Tommy Garrett loses in Bellevue.
Ian Swanson, after a primary win, comes up short in West O.
(And unless he bangs his head too hard on a low entry door frame, Swanson is young enough that we have not seen the last of him)

Some of the Ricketts support was successful, but not everywhere.
And the Death Penalty repeal gets…repealed.

Back to the nitty-gritty in Lincoln.

Mayor Jean Stothert with Congressman-Elect and Don Bacon and Angie Bacon

Finest Place You Ever Saw

And lest we get campaigning out of our systems, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert will make her formal re-election announcement on Monday evening at the Scott Conference Center, just north of Aksarben Village.

You can sign-up for free tickets to attend using EventBrite (here).

Too soon for another election?

Well, outgoing Democrat State Senator Heath Mello has already announced (and gets lots of kudos from those who were waving swear-word signs in the Old Market last night).

And the Mayor had actually planned to announce a month or so ago, before her dog-walking injury briefly sidelined her. But she’s back and healthy, and ready to talk about what she’s done and what she hopes to do for Omaha going forward.

(And campaigners know, you really can’t wait any longer for an election that’s just 5 and 6 months away.)

Should be an exciting campaign for this coming off-year.


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

And as teased on Monday, I personally have some news for you.

But…it’s going to wait until tomorrow — Friday.

And I think you may find it interesting.

Ya’ll come on back now, ya hear!

@LeavenworthSt on the Twitter.
Leavenworth St. on The Facebook.

5:30am Totals for #NE02

Vote Totals from Douglas & Sarpy County as of 5:30am — unofficial final totals

Douglas Sarpy TOTAL
Don Bacon 103,938 30,353 134,291
Brad Ashford 110,557 18,182 128,739
Trump 102,151 29,187 131,338
Clinton 105,207 17,046 122,253


Morning playbook

Politico notes on Nebraskans in potential Trump admin:

POWER PLAYERS YOU NEED TO KNOW — Inside Trump world: Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks, Jason Miller, Stephen Bannon, Jared Kushner, Chris Christie, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Corey Lewandowski, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Rudy Giuliani, Boris Epshteyn, Brad Parscale, Dan Scavino, David Bossie, Michael Glassner, Scott Mason, Steven Cheung, Michael Abboud

Abboud is the son of former State Senator Chris Abboud.


And then on Ag Secretary

Sid Miller; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman; former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as well as Charles Herbster, Republican donor and agribusiness leader; and Mike McCloskey

Vote and count

© Sam Kratochvil

So there’s this headline from the OWH…

Voters across Omaha brave early lines to cast their ballots

Really? Waiting in a line?

Apparently this is what Francis Scott Key meant when referring to the “Home of the Brave.”


If the swamp isn’t drained…

Former Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, was on MSNBC this morning responding to what he felt would be important for Hillary to do if she wins tonight.

He said that she needs to go to places like western Pennsylvania and West Virginia — places that didn’t vote for her — and just sit and listen. He said she needs to just listen and let those people get their feelings off their chest to help heal the country.

Then he said, “Because those people are not going to like what they hear…”

In other words, not really a “listening” tour.
A “telling” tour.

Same as the old boss…


Sure, why not some predictions…

So how does the night turn out?

Well, I have yet to see a prediction that gives a solid chance for Trump to get to 270. There are the ones that say, “If he wins ALL of these states, then STEALS this state that has been saying for months that it will go for Hillary...”

There are those types of scenarios, but they’re not common.

So instead of that, let’s talk local:
The prediction here is that Trump takes ALL of Nebraska’s 5 Electoral Votes. Who knows, maybe somehow that’s the difference-maker in a crazy Trump upset. For the 2nd, Trump by…5 points.

And then in the 2nd Congressional District, the other bet is that Don Bacon upsets Brad Ashford. If the proposal is to “drain the swap” it’s pretty hard to argue that the one who has been in politics for 30 years is your go-to guy. And the fact that the alternative is a retired General, who comes across as straight-shooting and also ultra-friendly is the difference-maker.

But that race WILL be close, not matter who wins. We’ll say Bacon by 3 points.

Death Penalty will be reversed. Er, repealed. The repeal will be repealed and thus reversed. (Sigh.) Nebraska will keep the Death Penalty. I mean, get it back.

That’ll be…8 points.

And for a party flip in the Legislature, I’ll take Ian Swanson in West O by 5 points.


The Twittah

From here, head on over to the Twitter for the latest and greatest and up-to-datest. I’ll be updating the various numbers on there, and likely updating on itself.

It’s the place to be.
Because THAT’s where you keep up on the talk of Nebraska politics.

Oh, and be sure to come on back to tomorrow, as there WILL be some news out of Leavenworth St. no matter who wins or loses tonight.

What happens to your write-in vote?

The LJS has an interesting look at what happens to your write-in vote. (Spoiler alert: Nothing.)

But the following is a repeat of a post on Leavenworth St. (back in the day) on Omaha Mayoral Election Day 2009, talking about one of the greatest write-in candidacies in Nebraska history!


Otis XII

A little political/pop history for you on Election Day 2009.

We take you back to the Year 1981. New President Ronald Reagan was recovering from being shot. Xerox has just introduced something called a “computer mouse”. And a young Kim Carnes was singing to us all about “Bettie Davis Eyes”.

However, to avoid the aforementioned Ms. Carnes, in Omaha you would rock on over to Z-92 (92.3 KEZO) and get your fill of Foghat, Skynyrd, and Zepplin. (Playlist hasn’t changed you say? Yeah, well, anyway…)

Z-92’s morning DJs ruled Omaha. Otis Twelve (aka Otis XII) and Diver Dan Doomey were Omaha classics who had shows within their shows that still stand up today.

Mean Farmer“, “Lance Stallion, Radio Detective” and “Space Commander Wack” were a few of the 3-4 minute long shows they had on during your AM drive. (You can hear an episode here , and they can be found on iTunes, among other places.) Each was a sort of farce comedy bit, with bad special effects and overacting. People memorized them daily.

It was Space Commander Wack (Space CoMMANder!) who put a dent into Omaha politics.

We asked Otis about the show and what happened when Space Commander Wack (with sidekick Stupid Larry, and Glorf, the Dead Martian Dog [whomp]) decided to run for Mayor. Here is what he had to say:

It was 1981. Mike Boyle was running against then incumbent Al Veys . Al was a wonderful old guy – a South O grocer by trade – who wore glasses that were as thick as the windows on one of Jacques Cousteau’s deep diving submersibles.

Al had won four years previously as a write-in. He was real salt of the old earth and loved telling the story of how, during his visit to Omaha’s Japanese sister city, Shizuoka, the mayor there had asked him, “How often do you have erections?”

Al was shocked… dumbfounded… set aback… until the mayor continued, “We have our erections every four years.” Al loved telling that one, god love him.

We really abused him – satirically speaking – and no one laughed harder than he did. He continued to invite us to parties and get-togethers long after he had left office… really a class act. A sweet man whom I still remember fondly. Still friends with Boyle as well.

And the inspiration…

space-commander-wackOur show on Z-92 was really taking off. Wack was big and it seemed like a fun thing to try. We had no consultants or research, in those days (codger clears throat and spits into empty Pabst can) the whole idea was, “Let’s do a show!”

We really had no idea what we were doing. Anyway, the inspiration was “WTF”.

And then it began to snowball…

We had printed up five hundred “Wack for Mayor” bumper stickers — which came back from the printers as “Whack for Mayor” – no problem as far as we were concerned.

Those 500 were gone in two days. Printed a thousand more. Those lasted a week. Think we ended up doing 7K plus. The public thirst for hope was unquenchable. Also did about 2000 buttons.

Local bands composed and recorded campaign songs. Ratings soared. Alcohol soaked, drug fueled, sex-laced bachanales (sic) reached into the “dark-thirty” hours. The local TV stations did features and we ripped all the powers-that-be along the way.

The mob was primed. It was a perfect scam for two would-be anarchists.

And this was the truth. You’d drive across town and see almost as many “Wack for Mayor” bumper stickers as you’d see “Boyle” or “Veys”.

And Z-92 also ran their “Wack for Mayor” ad-song non-stop, (buzzy-whistle -bwang “Vote Wack For Mayor…”). It was viral marketing before viral marketing.

So then, the Election.

We had an election night “defeat party” at Peony Park” – in the Grove – with bands and the one and only in-person appearance by Wack, Stupid Larry and Glorf the Dead Martian Dog. Three thousand plus – by Peony estimates – showed up.

Local news covered our rally live like we were a real campaign. Wack’s speech was a clarion call to revolution (Had I pressed the issue, I think the mob might indeed have burned down one thing or another at my direction – but cooler heads prevailed.)

We were awarded a new lucrative contract on the spot and having finally attained great wealth immediately distanced ourselves from the unwashed masses who had supported us up to then.

As for the results… well it was a very close election between Boyle and Veys. I think the final totals given (officially) were Boyle 50.1% and Veys 49.5% with “Others” at less than 1%.

But the election commissioner stopped counting the write-ins because Wack had not legally registered. (We chose not to in order to avoid any equal time problems)

But sources inside the election office (oh yes, we had listeners everywhere) subsequently informed us that Wack had received more than 4% of the vote cast. Which meant that the mayor, Mike Boyle, had been elected with a mere plurality. The government quickly covered up the truth with the collusion of the local MSM.

But all-in-all, we were gratified to discover just how seriously our fellow citizens treated their sacred right of suffrage.

We here at Leavenworth Street still recall listening to election updates from Z-92 on the kitchen radio — with the Election Commissioner reporting that they were ending Space Commander Wack’s vote count. Alas…

And what happened to Otis? Well, you can still hear his voice over at classical station 90.7, KVNO. And thanks to the miracle of the internets, you can find Otis at his Facebook page, his website, and you still hear Space Commander Wack, Mean Farmer, and Lance Stallion, among other places, on iTunes.

Thanks for our joining us back in the 80’s!


Back to 2016…

Leavenworth St. will be posting throughout Election Day 2016! Keep up with ALL the news by Following @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Liking Leavenworth St. on The Facebook!

Because that’s the way to be on top of the talk of Nebraska politics!

Election Day! (Part 1)

On this 2016 Election Day, the plan here on Leavenworth St. is to put up a number of posts throughout the day.

Per usual, if you see anything unusual, interesting, weird or Election Day-ee, fire it over to LeavenworthSt(-at-) (FYI, a link in the comment section will automatically NOT post.)

But to start you off, I thought it would be fun to watch a little throwback. To when we were naive and full of gumption.

To May 2015…when your GOP Nominee, measuring the drapes…was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Enjoy 3 minutes in the Time Machine:



More post up through the day, with maybe some predictions around 2 or 3pm. Follow EVERYTHING @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Leavenworth St. on The Facebook — where you’ll also get updates with every new post.

Oh, and no matter what candidate or issue wins or loses…there will be some news from Leavenworth St., no later than the end of the week…

And don’t forget to…you know…vote.

Election Eve

After a weekend where Brad Ashford was touting Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert answering a question politely, Don Bacon put out a video, featuring Mayor Stothert’s endorsement of General Bacon. See it here:

This features the presser hosted by Mayor Stothert, Governor Kay Orr, Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton and State Senators Joni Craighead and Nicole Fox, criticizing Ashford and the Nebraska Democrats for the false flyer they sent out about Bacon.

Click here to see all of Bacon’s ads this season.


More like Un-common sense, amirite?

The LJS jumped on the story featured here on Friday which pointed out that a mystery group called “Common Sense Nebraska” sent out false information about Nebraska Legislature candidate Bruce Bostelman.

The LJS notes that the group used misquoted information to attack Bostelman — which the Nebraska Family Alliance is now trying to correct through phone calls.

You would think correcting out-and-out false information would be easier, wouldn’t you.

But this same group, “Common Sense Nebraska” — no relation to the Common Sense Nebraska which opposed the Waters of the US rule — has also sunk their teeth into another Legislative candidate, retired Col. Tom Brewer, running against incumbent Al Davis.

Brewer filed a formal complaint to the NADC, noting that the group had not filed a statement of organization, nor had it listed a physical street address in the disclaimer.

Leavenworth St. was told that the advertisements are likely paid for by an established state political organization like the NSEA. The mailings for Common Sense Nebraska, Citizens for a Better Tomorrow (a group funded by the NSEA and Trial Attorneys) and the NSEA PAC all generated from the same mail house, Garner Printing, with the same bulk mail indicia.

That does not mean that they are definitely from that source, but you can use that info as you see fit.

In the mean time, Brewer put out this flyer, which is based on Legislative voting history, as opposed to a shadow group with no address:


By the way, this is U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s old district.


The party

On this Election eve afternoon, feel free to dive in to the comments if you want to give a pitch for your favorite candidate(s).

At this point, please try to keep it civil. Everyone will be appreciative.

And if you’re making plans for tomorrow night, the Nebraska Republican Party will be having their Election Night gig for local and Legislative candidates and Don Bacon for Congress, at the Marriott Regency (10220 Regency Circle) in Omaha. Festivities begin at 7pm and go to midnight (or so).

And keep up with ALL of your Election goings-on by Following @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Liking Leavenworth St. on The Facebook!

Because that’s how YOU will stay up with the talk of Nebraska politics!

How to address an outright lie?

It’s the Friday before Election Day.

It’s nearly impossible to get any new mail to voters.
It is surprisingly difficult to add a new advertisement into rotation on TV and radio.

So what do you do when your opponent tells a bald-faced lie against you?

Case in point:

Bruce Bostelman is running against incumbent State Senator Jerry Johnson in District 23 (Ashland, Wahoo, Schuyler, David City…), in what is likely a very tight race.

So a group called, “Common Sense Nebraska” sends out a mailer card, like the ones pouring into your mailbox, that looks like this:



But here’s the problem:

Bostleman fully supports property tax relief (duh)…and that’s what the Nebraska Family Alliance questionnaire says!

Here is their webpage!

Here is a screenshot!


Even Hallie Hamilton, at Nebraska Family Alliance confirmed that Bostelman answered the question that he supports property tax relief — like it says on their site!

Can you fix it? Ha!

So what do you do?
You can try to tell the press and get them to do a big write up on that.
You could have a press conference.

But likely the media will spin it to suit their own predisposition on the issue.

How do we know this?…


Even when it’s obvious…

Well the Nebraska Republican Party called out the Nebraska Democrats and Brad Ashford for LYING on their mailer.

The NDP mailer SPECIFICALLY says that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms, and since Don Bacon isn’t a fan of Planned Parenthood, he must be against mammograms and supports cancer in women.

Except that Planned Parenthood does NOT provide mammograms.
It’s not even a question anymore.

But read the OWH’s story on it (which, btw, SKIPPED the presser on the issue by the Mayor of Omaha, former Governor, City Councilwoman and two State Senators…) and you’d think that the issue is still open.

In Joe Morton’s article, the point about mammograms was buried down on Paragraph 11. And he never wrote that the NDP was lying about this point.

Which IS the point.

So good luck candidates.
It is apparently open season on the truth.

And the supposed truth-tellers ain’t gonna help ya.



OK, got that out of your system?

The latest (final?) ad to close out the Don Bacon for Congress campaign. See it here:

A positive piece from the tough as nails General…who is also one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.


Working for it

Hey, Leavenworth St. will be tweeting all weekend long!
So follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook.

Because that’s how YOU will keep up with the talk of Nebraska politics!

And Go Huskers!

Nebraska women leaders on Ashford NDP mailer: “Nebraska is better than this.”


Six Nebraska women leaders came together today in Omaha to denounce the recent mailer by the Nebraska Democrat Party which claimed that retired Brigadier General Don Bacon is against women’s health care.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, former Governor Kay Orr, Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton, State Senator Joni Craighead, State Senator Nicole Fox and Republican National Committeewoman Dr. Joyce Simmons spoke in Omaha about the negative mail piece sent out by the NDP.

“Don Bacon understands the importance of proper health screening for breast cancer. His sister died of the disease. This scurrilous attack by the Democrats is just beyond the pale.” said Governor Orr.

The NDP mailer stated that, “Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings, including mammograms to more than 5,000 Nebraska women.


“Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms,” Orr continued. “Their national leader testified before a Congressional Committee last year and had to finally admit that they’ve been deceiving the people.”


“This mailing hits General Don Bacon where it hurts the most, and that’s the loss of his sister to breast cancer. Cancer should not be exploited at the last minute of a campaign to win an election,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

“I am a former health care professional and nurse. I have treated and know many women who have faced this terrible disease, and some who lost.

“General Don Bacon has likely seen it all in his military service on the battlefield, and in war. But what had to be worse, was reading in this flyer that he would intentionally put women’s lives at risk from the very disease that took his sister,” she said.

“Nebraska is better than this,” Stothert concluded.


Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton said, “In a campaign if you’re going to be a politician you’ve got to have tough skin. All of us up here have had to have tough skin.

“But this is one thing on which I think Brad Ashford and the Democrats have gone to an all new low,” Melton concluded.


“I’m not going to fall for the scare tactics and the lies, because that flyer was nothing but lies,” said State Senator Nicole Fox.


“Don Bacon supports putting funds into community health centers that respect all life and all care for all people,” said Senator Joni Craighead.

“Do liberals truly respect women? Or do they just use women’s issues to try to manipulate the voters?” she asked.


“This is a matter of truth. And it occurs to me that Brad Ashford took his marching orders from Washington D.C., from Nancy Pelosi and didn’t even check to see if it was accurate about mammograms,” concluded Dr. Joyce Simmons.

See the entire press conference via Periscope here.