Friday, November 10, 2006

The 2008 Senate Race!

Welcome to the 2008 Political Season!
Too early, you say?
Not if you plan to run for office in 2008!
So then, who WILL (or may, or should) run in 2008?
Well, Leavenworth Street takes a look at who the players are for the 2008 Senate seat.


Chuck Hagel
This is Hagel’s seat as we speak. He may run for President, he may not. But if he does run for Prez, he may still try to keep his Senate seat (at least we’re pretty sure this is allowed in Nebraska -- feel free to weigh in on this, as we don’t feel like doing the research at the moment). Now Hagel’s support in Republican circles in Nebraska is waning. Many are unhappy with the way he hasn’t supported the President. Dems love this and many love him for it. But they won’t be voting in this primary.

Mike Johanns
Many felt that the popular former Governor and present Secretary of Agriculture could have been the one to knock off Ben Nelson had he desired to run. And many feel that if Hagel drops out, this is Johanns seat for the taking, if he wants it. It is likely that if he decided to get in, no one else would bother him in a primary. But the longer he would wait to make a decision, the more likely others would jump in. However many believe that Johanns doesn’t have the interest for another combative statewide election. But he’ll be done with President Bush in January 2009 in any case, so he’d be looking for something to do. What that is will keep everyone interested.

Jon Bruning
So the word is that whether Hagel tries to keep his seat, or not, Bruning is going to challenge in the GOP primary. This would really set up an interesting fight, but just because Hagel has angered the base, doesn’t mean Bruning would waltz in. Bruning has soured many with his seemingly over-eager career plans. He reportedly has poor relationships with both Hagel and Governor, and new political gorilla, Dave Heineman. He has made it clear that he is in for 2008 (though what he would do if Johanns jumped in is unknown) and every move he makes from here on out will be calculated towards that goal.

Pete Ricketts
We don’t know what Ricketts aspirations are after the thumping he took at the hands of Earl Benjamin Nelson. One would think that GOP voters would be leery at giving him another shot with the nomination after the showing he had. There have been suggestions that if the 2nd District House seat opened up he could be interested. On thing is obvious: he wouldn’t run the same kind of campaign as he did against Nelson. And we all know that he still has the cash to decide how that campaign would be run.

Lee Terry
Many have suggested that Terry has been setting himself up for a Senate run since he got his House seat. Others suggest that Terry is comfortable in the House and would rather build up his seniority there than try to make the Senate gambit. Since it’s all about seniority in the House, it wouldn’t be a bad move for Terry, and it would benefit the state if he chose to do so as well. But Terry has also been in the majority during his entire stay there, and being on the other end of the stick may sour him just enough to reach for the brass ring in the Senate. Also, others suggest that Terry has a few conservative credentials that need shaping up (tort reform being one) before he could break out of a crowded GOP primary field. And finally there’s, of course, the fact that Terry has never run statewide and may have a more difficult time getting footing west of Omaha. We guess that it will be a little while before Terry makes his decision here.

Don Stenberg
Some said that the day after he lost to Pete Ricketts, Don Stenberg was gearing up for the 2008 primary. All we can say is, Good Luck Don. Let us know if you’re going to debate this time.

David Kramer
Many have said that it would have been great if Dave Kramer had had Pete Ricketts money to go up against Ben Nelson this time around. Of course, this is like the second string quarterback who is always more popular than the first stringer who is having problems. Kramer surely benefited from the primary run where he was able to get his name out amongst the GOP crowd – and his stint as MC at the Bush event in Grand Island left many finding him a more likable guy. If this is a battle between Bruning and Kramer, it would be interesting to see who the party apparatus would back. But without an elected office, Kramer will have to find a way to stay in the public eye for at least the next year to build up his credentials beyond party-chair and attorney.

Rick Sheehy
The Lieutenant Governor and former Hastings Mayor could have a bright political future in Nebraska, but honestly we have no idea, and doubt he’d bet it all on a Senate run this time. But who knows? We’re open to more info here.

Hal Daub
We doubt Daub will take another crack at the Senate – it would be his third try after losing to Dave Karnes and Jim Exon. Daub is still considered the heart of the Reagan Republicans in Nebraska. But as everyone knows, he doesn’t always have the smoothest political style, and it cost him the Omaha Mayor’s job. As the outstanding and effective Omaha Mayor, Daub would probably be the same in the Senate. But alas, he’d have to get elected first, and that has shown to be a problem.

One interesting factor would be if Hagel decided to run for President or something else came up, and he decided to quit his seat before it was up. Then Dave Heineman would get to appoint someone to the seat. While were not sure if this is likely at all, it’s always a fun parlor guessing game. Who would it be? We’d say Daub, for his patriarch of the party status, and the fact that Heineman was his Chief of Staff in the House. Kramer? Maybe if he wanted to give him a head start. Sheehy? If he wanted to give him a huge jump.

By the way, we're leaving Jeff Fortenberry's name off here because, while we feel he has a particularly bright future in Nebraska politics, we just don't figure he'll run for this spot. Same with Dave Heineman.


Mike Fahey
The Omaha Mayor’s is the name most Dems like to throw out because, well, who else do they throw out? But many wonder if Fahey has the interest to take on such a bid. Heck, some wonder if he hasn’t just given the keys to the mayor’s office to CoS Paul Landow already.

Patrick Bourne-Maxine Moul-Scott Kleeb- Matt Connealy-Kate Witek or some other Dem who lost a race recently.
The Democrat's cabinet is otherwise bare. We’ll throw out State Senator Bourne’s name because he's expresed some interest in some higher office. House is more likely.

Did we miss anyone (I’m sure the Dems must have some other names we didn’t think of)? Put it up on the comments board and if it’s a glaring omission we’ll update the post.

Now start your campaigning!


Charlie said...

I'm certainly hoping that Senator Hagel runs for President. If he doesn't get it I think he'd make a great Secretary of State or Defense.

David Plate said...

sheehy is a dim bulb if i ever saw one.

One Out In The Third said...

Sheefly don't bother me.

You forgot Stormy Dean.

Dale Gribble said...

yeah forget Stormy Dean, but what about his beautiful lt gov running mate Melany Chestermann. Ill cross party lines for her

Steve said...

Hopefully Republicans will long remember the role Bruning played in Don Kleine's victory, and support him accordingly.

asecurityguard said...

As a dem in Nebraska, I beg all republicans to urge Pete Ricketts to run again, it wont matter who we run against him the dems will win. Lee Terry would be a good one for the dems as well, lets see if the bumbling idiot can handle a Senate race. I hope Hagel runs for prez and then is humiliated, that might be a reality as well. If hal Daub decides to run then maybe Fahey can run and show Daub once and for all that he should give it up. As for the dems, I dont think Fahey will run, he's thinking about another term for mayor and he like the gig as well. Really if Ricketts runs it wont matter who the dems pick. Im starting it right now: RICKETTS FOR SENATE 2008!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mort Sullivan

Anonymous said...

While Bush is crucified by a Democrat Congress eager to take the White House in 08, Republicans will avert their eyes and go looking for a Reagan-like conservative who isn’t a Bush lackey. That’s Hagel.

Exit polls obliquely yet strongly confirm that Hagel was right about Iraq’s effect on the America people. The GOP trusted Bush’s politic sense in ignoring Hagel’s advice. But that was before voters cracked Bush over the head with a Democrat Congress.

The GOP’s anger at Hagel will wear off as Bush wears out.

Anonymous said...

If we're talking about what's best for Nebraska in the senate, Hagel's it, regardless of what side of the party line you're on. Bourne's also a smart cookie, and I'm honestly surprised he's still a Democrat, given his libertarian ideology and public support of conservative policies and policy-makers. I say put him up against Terry for the 2nd district house seat and see what happens. Tell Hagel to stay put for a little longer. Watch as McCain and Obama battle it out for President.

Also, tell Kleeb to get a job and pay taxes for awhile, so people can stop focusing on where he fits on the Nebraska-ness meter and see if he really has what takes to be a politician. He'd be a great Nelson successor if he can get his feet planted somewhere, gain a little maturity and experience, and hire a campaign staff comprised of someone other than his buddies from Connecticut Young Democrats.

Anonymous said...

asecurityguard -

you, sir or ma'am or barry rubins, are a jerk. big time jerk. that is all.


Exit Poll said...

The exit polling from Tuesday showed that 49% of Nebraskans think Hagel wouldn't be a good president. Only 36% thought he would.
He's finished. He knowsit. Burned all his political capital on Ricketts disaster and now he's 1-2 against Ben Nelson.


Anonymous said...

ne dems wouls like nothing more than a primary show down between brunning and terry. they don't have a hope at beating either... for any office. it'll prob never happen though. brunning and terry have been friends for a long time.

i urge ne gop not to buy into the dem hopes.

asecurityguard said...

asecurityguard -

you, sir or ma'am or barry rubins, are a jerk. big time jerk. that is all.


Im a security guard, and i approve this message!

Everything Happens for a Reason said...

Hagel could run for President and still run for Senate.

The Iowa and New Hampshire primaries will be in the end of January-early February. The deadline for incumbents filing for reelection in Nebraska is mid February. Hagel can run in the first 4 or 5 primaries, lose (highly likely), and still file for Senate.

If he somehow does well, all he has to do is keep his name off of the Nebraska Presidential ballot and he would be fine. Nowadays the Nebraska Primary is irrelevant. Nebraska law says you can not run for more than one office at a time.

anonymous coward said...

Since a Republican victory is likely, we can assume there'll be a crowded primary field. If everyone runs, then someone could win with around 20% of the vote. This worries me a little bit. Smith and Fortenberry both first won with pluralities in their primaries. Would it have been different if the other candidates hadn't split the vote? Since Republicans have such strength in Nebraska, maybe they should switch to a run-off type primary.

Street Sweeper said...

"Everything happens..." thanks for the insight on the state law and the reality.

Of course that means that if he can make a decision that late, if you're going in, you have to make that decision independent of Hagel.

So suppose Bruning decides he's running whether Hagel is in or not. But then Hagel decides not to run after NH, so now Bruning has a huge head-start over whoever wants to challenge Bruning. Interesting dynamics.

I would think Hagel would make his intentions clear before all that. Of course if his lightning strikes and he wins NH or SC or where ever, then the same thing could happen.

ptg said...

I'm thinking Dave Kramer and Hugo Chavez were separated at birth.

lawyerinnebraska said...

Gut instinct tells me that Chuck probably won't run for both. He'll want to give whichever Republican wants to run for the Senate seat an honest shot, assuming he runs for president. So if he runs for pres., I think he's basically stated at that point that he's done with the Senate.

Street Sweeper said...

ptg, duly noted, and we will refer to you at the appropriate time.

OmaSteak said...

Mike Fahey run for US Senate? You've got to be kidding. Why would he want a job where he'd actually have to show-up everyday and not just attend ribbon cuttings, etc.??? Landow has built a well oiled shakedown machine while Mike cruises in his private jet between Omaha and his Lake of the Ozarks place. BTW, Chuck Hagel has been running for president for over a year. He just hasn't taken the first official step of filing with the FEC for his presidential exploratory committee yet...but he will in early 2007. Hagel can run for both his current Senate office and president at the same time. NE doesn't have a Daschle bill like was passed in SD before the 2004 presidential race started. Lee Terry would be more likely to run for Mayor of Omaha than for the US Senate...although it's unlikely he'd win either race. Jon Bruning would make a much better senate candidate and he already has more state-wide name recognition. Dave Heineman probably has some senate ambition and he'd likely jump in a 2008 republican primary if Hagel doesn't run.

Street Sweeper said...

OmaSteaks, you had some interesting points, until your Heineman prediction. No way he dumps the Gov's office after being elected just 2 years prior.

Anonymous said...

In my ongoing quest to keep on adding to the SABs and other random quotes.....I submit for your review a new SAB: Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy:

Bill Callahan

To put it in Callahan Coachspeak terms (imagine Jim Rose interviewing Bill re) Lt Gov Sheehy): "He's just huge for our state, Jim. He has stalwart effort and adds so well to what we're trying to do here. He gives 110% percent in his duties as director of our state's homeland security team. His effort and impotus speaks volumes to the kind of guy he is, Jim. There's no question, Jim, he's a guy we're glad to have around here at Nebraska."

Street Sweeper said...

Most recent "Anonymous", we will not be posting your cut and pasted story from the OWH. This is a comments section.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 62 year old Democrat and I like what I hear from Senator Chuck Nagel. Want me to vote Republican? Get Chuck Nagel to run for President and he's got my vote, money and support. Jay Durkin, Dallas, Texas 3/23/08