Less than two weeks until the May 13 Nebraska primary elections. Clearly time to do some summing up of developments and my views on the two most spotlighted primary contests in the too-often political-low-road competition for Republican Senatorial and gubernatorial nominations.
The quality of the eleventh-hour campaigning wasn’t improved a bit by the intrusion of Sarah Palin—former governor of Alaska and Senator John McCain’s biggest political mistake—into the contest for the Senatorial nomination.
I wonder if gubernatorial candidate Ben Sasse has considered that to invite a discredited political figure like Sarah Palin into the Nebraska Senatorial primary could hurt more than help his candidacy?
Palin has become a Tea Party-leaning has-been (or never was) political figure whose presence as the nominee for vice president on the ticket with Senator John McCain hurt rather than help McCain in his campaign against Barack Obama.
Palin Appearance Fee $200,000?
But proof that Palin can still help draw a crowd was the recent North Platte rally for Ben Sasse. A crowd estimated at close to 1,000 was attracted to the show, whose sponsors stretched so far as to attempt to get mileage out of the fact that it was held on the historic grounds of Scout’s Rest Ranch, once the home of “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
What Did Rally Cost Sasse?
I think it is reasonable to speculate that despite the size of the turnout and the excitement sparked by Palin’s well-promoted appearance, the North Platte extravaganza was of limited if any help to making Sasse a more attractive candidate worthy of serving in the United States Senate.
W-H Makes Good Case For Dinsdale
In contrast to the Sarah Palin/Buffalo Bill campaign rally was The World-Herald’s carefully-reasoned editorial endorsing banker Sid Dinsdale for the Senatorial nomination.
Dinsdale has been an impressive campaigner—no negative attack ads on opponents, for example, but rather ads depicting him as a candidate who grew up with small-town roots in a rural community and has compiled an impressive record of business and philanthropic service as the family banking business has grown statewide.
Incidentally, if you read far enough into The World-Herald story of the Sarah Palin/Buffalo Bill rally, you learned that Palin must be running something of a speaker’s bureau, since she has spoken on behalf of Senatorial candidates in five other states. (She has also endorsed Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts.)
I wish some enterprising journalist would take on the job of finding out the circumstances that go with such appearances. Does Palin seek out speaking engagements? Are there any financial strings attached, such as $200,000 “honorariums”?
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Turning now to the contest for the Republican nomination for governor, regular readers of my comments will know that I consider the best candidate to be Omaha attorney Bryan Slone, who offers a variety of national and local experiences which grew from his status as a University of Nebraska College of Law graduate.
The question is whether Slone started too late and has overemphasized his small-town roots rather than pointing to his varied impressive performances during his career with Omaha as his base.
So what about the five other candidates for the gubernatorial nomination? If I were making book, I might establish State Auditor Mike Foley or Attorney General Jon Bruning (the name recognition factor) as the favorites.
Foley Obsessed With Abortion Issue
Foley’s reputation as a state senator with an obsession about the abortion issue is certainly not in his favor, but is mentioned little if at all in the current campaign. Nor are his emotional remarks about taking the State Department of Health and Human Resources apart piece by piece if he wins the governorship.
Nebraskans who believe in the rule of law—like the United States Supreme Court decision that abortions are legal in the first trimester of pregnancy—have reason to be concerned about Foley’s candidacy.
Slone The Best Candidate But–
My bottom line:
I will vote for Bryan Slone and hope that if he doesn’t win, the state won’t pay too high a price for mediocrity in the governor’s office in the next four years if the Republican candidate is, as expected, victorious in November.
If Bryan Slone doesn’t make it, a potentially better alternative could be the election of the Democratic candidate, Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons, former University of Nebraska Regent and founder of the Center for Rural Affairs.
Hassebrook’s problem would be that while he served well as a member of the Board of Regents, his reputation as a liberal may be an obstacle that he can’t overcome.
He would have to make credible pledges that his governorship would be influenced by the generally-conservative political views of the majority of Nebraskans.
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A quick look at some of the other issues which will face Nebraskans at the polls May 13:
Getting entirely too little attention is the importance of the vote on the proposed Omaha bond issues to meet a variety of the city’s needs. In contrast to a virtual flood of political mailings reaching our home in behalf of the candidate Gwenn Aspen, we have received just one “Vote Yes” for bond issues to meet a variety of the city’s needs.
That mailing summarizes a very good case for the bonds in these words:
“The bonds will not exceed $92 million for a combination of street, sewer, parks and public safety projects in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for 2015-19.
But instead of generating some support for a vitally-important bond issue, we find—at least in the mailings reaching our home—Mayor Jean Stothert depicted as standing with another attractive blonde, Gwenn Aspen, the legislative candidate whose campaign has sent so many “Gwenn Aspen” for Legislature cards my way that I’ve lost count.
If I’ve ever encountered a political campaign which is potentially guilty of overkill it would certainly be that of good-looking blonde Gwenn Aspen, who so longs to replace incumbent Burke Harr as State Senator from the 8th Legislative District, which is the one in which Marian and I reside.
For reasons not made clear in the flood of mailings, Gwenn Aspen—whose attractive blonde images featured prominently in virtually every mailing—would have the support of Governor Dave Heineman and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.
We Will Be Voting For Harr
Marian and I will be voting for the re-election of Senator Harr. We don’t need any help from Dave Heineman or Jean Stothert.
Dare I suggest that Omahans didn’t elect Stothert to tell us who to vote for in a Legislative race, a decision we are quite capable of making for ourselves, Mrs. Mayor.