ICYMI, Nebraska’s Sr. U.S. Senator, Deb Fischer, spent Thanksgiving with the troops.
Fischer met with service members from Nebraska at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The visit was part of a Senate Armed Services Committee congressional delegation trip focused on the continued mission in Afghanistan.
At Al Udeid Air Base, Senator Fischer met Master Sergeant Daniel Westman from Bellevue, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Shannon from Omaha, Staff Sergeant Jennifer Jensen from Alliance.
At Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan she met with Lieutenant Colonel James Rye of McCook, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Carpenter of Omaha, Sergeant Jared Cornell of Omaha, Sergeant Erik Servellon of Omaha Lieutenant Colonel Danny Robinson of North Platte, and Chief Warrant Officer Nicole Patterson of Beatrice.
Because of military protocol on issues involving of use of torture, it is unclear as to whether or not she or her fellow Nebraskans were forced to watch the Husker loss to Iowa on Friday.
Back home, Heath Mello is just starting into his campaign for Mayor of Omaha. He is sending emails and attacking Mayor Jean Stothert, etc., etc.
But Heath figured he needs to raise some money too, and where does Heath go to raise money to be Mayor of OMAHA?
Well…Lincoln, of course.
Because apparently Heath doesn’t know where else to go.
And who does he invite to the funder at the local bar?
Lots and lots of lobbyists.
As a matter of fact, his HOSTS for the fundraiser included over 17 lobbyists registered with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.
Well, that’s one way to run for Omaha’s top job.
Run to Lincoln and rub elbows with the Lincoln Lobbyists in the Legislature.
Too bad about those term limits…
The Greater Omaha Pachyderm Luncheon is today (Monday) from 11:40am – 1pm at The Garden Cafe in Rockbrook Village, 108th & Center St.
The speakers will be State Senators Bob Hilkemann, John McCollister, and Bret Lindstrom, who will give a preview of some of the upcoming issues that may be debated in the next session.
After Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s reelection announcement, Democrat Mayor candidate Heath Mello immediately went on the political attack, talking in generalities and keeping alive the partisan banter of the past election year that so many are tired of.
At her announcement, Stothert had Republicans and Democrats and people from every part of the city praising and endorsing Mayor Stothert before a packed crowd at UNO’s Scott Conference Center.
But Mello didn’t stop with the local press.
He also took to Twitter (or the Twitter, as Sweeper was fond to say) in response to a citizen’s request:
Which is interesting.
Leavenworth St. has heard that any request the City of Omaha’s Planning Department has ever received for art work on the grain elevators…has been approved.
You can note some of the art on these elevators from Emerging Terrain on their website here.
Our guess is that the political hits from young Mello will keep coming. No word yet on if/when they might be accurate.
Jean Stothert for Mayor
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert made her reelection campaign announcement Monday evening at UNO’s Scott Conference Center.
You can watch the entire announcement, as well as short clips from the evening at the campaign Facebook page at Facebook.com/JeanforMayor.
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.
According 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.
Leavenworth Street will keep you posted on these events
I am Spartacus! Well at least for purposes of having a pen name on Leavenworth Street. I remember as a child watching the classic film in which Spartacus’ brethren claimed to be Spartacus to stand up for freedom over certain death. Spartacus seemed like an appropriate name for our posts on Leavenworth Street while Jerry takes his sabbatical away from this Blog. Leavenworth Street has been an important voice in our community and on occasion has reached national notoriety.
I always thought that Jerry taking the name of Street Sweeper was a clever device to maintain his anonymity and to create a buzz as to who Street Sweeper might be. In light of the radical left attacking those with a conservative bent, using a pen name seems appropriate. Furthermore, the pen name “Spartacus” can be used by one or many if needed to keep up with the posts on this blog. I may want to tap others to help provide new content and top cover different topics and elections.
So the next question you may be asking am I qualified to take the reins of Leavenworth Street from Jerry? That is a fair question. While I will be anonymous, I will tell you a little about myself. I have been active in our community for about 20 years. I am a Conservative. I have experience in both politics and journalism. I have a day job but I enjoy following the local, state, and national political scene. What attracted me to doing this for Jerry was to keep alive another independent voice that adds to the debate and for over a decade Jerry has done just that. What an exciting time politically we live in. With the Lincoln and Omaha elections next spring, Donald Trump being elected President, a revised Unicameral starting in January, and protesters in the streets, I think there will be plenty of topics to cover over the next several months.
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 WheelsDownPolitics.com.
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.
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 Blogspot.com 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vote Totals from Douglas & Sarpy County as of 5:30am — unofficial final totals
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.
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
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.
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 LeavenworthSt.com 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.
But the following is a repeat of a post on Leavenworth St. (back in the blogspot.com day) on Omaha Mayoral Election Day 2009, talking about one of the greatest write-in candidacies in Nebraska history!
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…
Our 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.
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-)gmail.com. (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…