Thursday, March 15, 2007

Announcement(s) Day

Let’s look at a few things from today’s announcement by Jon Bruning…and Hal Daub…and Mike Johanns???

First, Daub must have heard about the coming Bruning announcement and decided to send out a release under the radar. Say what you want about Daub's chances, but the guy is old school and if you underestimate him, prepare to get knocked down at least a few times. And note the dig by Daub in his release: “it would be an amazing opportunity for the qualified candidate to serve the people of Nebraska.”

Not “A” qualified candidate; “THE” qualified candidate. Wonder who Hal thinks that is…

Next, after the cameras left the Capitol rotunda, they trundled on down to Governor Dave Heineman’s office, where he promptly told the media horde that (more or less) if Bruning wants to run for Senate, he had better be ready to face Mike Johanns. Yowza! How’s that for a right cross to Bruning (who said he’s prepping to campaign, like a boxer hits a speed bag)? Oh, and take a guess who Hagel and Heineman would be supporting in a Johanns-Bruning primary?

And, a couple words about Bruning’s statement: Bruning specifically noted that he filed his exploratory bid with the Federal Election Commission. Well that’s interesting… but it ain’t true. According to the FEC, and this handy-dandy FEC Congressional candidate guide, if you haven’t declared yourself as a candidate, you can put yourself in the “Testing the Waters” period, where you can raise and spend money but you DON’T have to register or report anything with the FEC. As a matter of fact, there is nothing to file with the FEC if you’re in this “Testing the Waters” or exploratory phase. You only register if you ARE a candidate, and at that point, you have the regular reporting requirements.

So, the question is, DID Bruning file with the FEC? If so, then he IS a candidate (whether he plans on pulling out, or not). If not, well, then what he said isn’t accurate. (**Update** Bruning's camp has responded that he DID in fact register an "exploratory committee" with the FEC, but admit that they didn't have to do it. See "Comments" section below for more on this.)

Finally, one other guffaw from the media: Calvert Collins from Omaha’s KPTM FOX 42 (yes, THAT Calvert Collins) was overheard gushing about how she “adores” Jon Bruning, and asked Heineman why Johanns would think he’d have a chance against Bruning since Johanns has disconnected himself from Nebraskans and what's important to them. Heineman reminded “Cal” that Johanns has just a little bit of service history in Nebraska and that he’s also, ahem, the freaking U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Ah politics is fun…


Anonymous said...

Nebraska is not going to send a 68-year-old to serve in the Senate. Nebraska voters -- especially in Third District -- know the importance of longevity on Capitol Hill. Seniority means more dollars sent home. Age is Bruning's advantage over Daub. Charisma is Bruning's advantage over Mike Johanns. As far as this Nebraskan is concerned, this race is over, should Hagel bow out.

Ed Randoulph

SweetWillis said...

Oh, Mr. Ed, you're naivety is kind of cute! Some of us fortunate souls who find themselves "in the know" have stumbled upon quite a few ugly, rotten, and terribly embarrassing skeletons in Mr. Bruning's closet just waiting to pop out and say 'hi'. Politics is a tough biz to survive in for those who like to party!

Anonymous said...

awesome stuff SS.

"you have a puddle in the road, you leap it."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I'm clear out in Western Nebraska and would definitely cast a vote for Jon Bruning. He's been out in our neck of the woods many times and knows the state doesn't end at North Platte. We are talking & watching out this direction about what goes on in Lincoln & Omaha and see Jon Bruning as a man who cares about this end of the state. Proudly from the Panhandle, A daughter,a sister, a niece, a mom and a grandma!

1:57 PM, March 15, 2007

Anonymous said...


It’s standard practice for those forming exploratory committees to file form 1 with the FEC (statement of organization), but not form 2 (this one is used to actually declare candidacy). Call the FEC and ask them how it works, you’ll see. Evan Bayh’s docs are a perfect example. Exploratory committees don’t exist in statute, they’re really a loophole used to this point by Presidential candidates. It’s true, the concept of “testing the waters” does not require any filing under FEC rules. Nonetheless, on the FEC Form 1, presidential candidates have written in “exploratory” in Question 5 underneath the part requesting “candidate party affiliation.” Bruning, with advice from FEC employees, copied that practice and wrote in “exploratory” under the box for Senate.

Again, this has been common for Presidential candidates, but not common for Senate candidates, although the rules are roughly the same for both. The FEC has tacitly “authorized” the practice by issuing FEC I.D. numbers to exploratory committees, thereby giving such committees the imprimatur of officialdom. Bruning, as usual, is blazing his own trail.

Bruning’s docs were mailed yesterday to the Secretary of the Senate, who will forward them to the FEC, as per FEC rules. House filings are made online, but the Senate is a bit more old-fashioned and requires paper copies. So it could be a few days, but the document will be online soon.

Bottom line: Why would a potential candidate for Senate file a document with the FEC that isn’t required? The same reason Presidential candidates do it: to add legitimacy for donors and volunteers who want some official filing that exploration has begun.

Street Sweeper said...

Well, Anonymous Bruning Staffer, thanks for the input. As a matter of fact I DID speak with the FCC and they filled me in the "Testing the Waters" concept. However, as you point out, there's really no point in filing an "Exploratory Committee" -- it's not required, and I'd be surprised to find a donor who is looking for your FEC filing, but do as you will. We don't mean to imply that there is anything illegal or below board about what your boss is doing, and hope no one takes it that way.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is originally from the third district and who still has occasion to be back there, I have found that most folks (especially GOP types) find Bruning distasteful. Rural Nebraska is not blind to Bruning's blind ambition, and they want someone to lead with conviction and courage - not someone to exercise ambition.

It's interesting, even people who disagree with Senator Hagel on some positions still think he is a man of courage, still trust his judgment, and still believe he is an effective Senator for Nebraska.

It's also interesting that in their coverage of Senator Hagel's news conference, reporters failed to report that the person best served by a delay in Hagel's decision is Mike Johanns (if he would decide to run for Senate). And I can't imagine that is lost on Hagel, who engaged in Johanns' primary, Stenberg's and Ricketts' races, Smith's, Fortenberry's, and Terry's races - not to mention his early support of Heineman. He must be mindful of who would follow him in the Senate.

I almost feel bad for Jon Bruning- he has alienated just about every notable elected official in the state. He's on the wrong side of Governor Heineman, who pro-actively invited Johanns back today. He bit his thumb at both Fortenberry and Terry with the so-called "independent poll" conducted by his media consultant and pollster late last year. And now he's taking on Chuck Hagel and Mike Johanns? Yikes!

mom at home said...

My, my! Ol' Cal just can't help but get her panties in a twist about young political candidates, can she?

I wonder if she'll give the AG $500 for his campaign like she did "you-know-who"?

tlb said...

I wonder whether Lee Terry might also want to make a run for Senate.

Anonymous said...

Jon has a bright future in any contested Republican primary. He was instrumental in helping elect Don Kleine in Douglas County. People don't forget that kind of service.

Anonymous said...

If only there had been this much Republican enthusiasm when Senator Ben's seat was up for re-election. But the 800-pound gorillas weren't beating their chests back then, when it counted. One by one, they shirked away from Nellie and made a very vulnerable candidate nearly invincible. (Think Johanns, Bruning, Karnes.)

But we're talking 2008. So forget the good ol' boys club and the endorsement game. Put conservatism before Republicanism. Neither Hagel nor Heineman is going to decide the GOP primary. The Senate candidate who is most serious about stopping illegal immigration, getting out of Iraq, and rebuilding the rural economy is the guy who wins.

As of now, Bruning is probably most solid on all three counts when compared to the others. Most importantly, he won't be tagged with the "Omaha Guy" label, which is the first strike against Messrs. Daub and Fahey. Mr. Johanns' black marks will come when he has to defend Bush's farm bill proposal, which would take from Midwestern farmers and give to wealthy fruit and veggie farmers on the coasts. Good luck with that, Mr. Secretary.

One Out In The Third said...

Gee whiz...I go away for two days and all this. I think it was a very smart move for Bruning to step up to the plate in the shadow of "Chuck The Hagel's" non-event press conference.

It's Bruning's to lose and he better keep in mind that he represents Nebrsakans first and always.

Street Sweeper said...

Before this gets any more out of hand, let's be clear:

The Senate race is Johanns' (and his to lose) should he choose to get in.

Feel free to discuss.

One Out In The Third said...


Your point taken. But will Johanns be tendering his resignation within the next 6 to 9 months? He will have to resign or have his own little pre-emptive coming out party real soon if he plans on running a credible campaign. To be honest I don't think his "non-bullish" record as SECAG will be enough to carry him over.

Hagel is trying to buy time and it is going to be his downfall. I still say Bruning is the boy that wants it and if he sings a good tune...and dances a good's his. He who waffles is toast.

Anonymous said...

Let me give everyone (including Jon) some free political intuition.

Why Bruning won't Win:

1) He endorsed Tom Osborne. We found out first hand that Tom Osborne does not rule the roost here in good ole' Nebraski. Heineman does now....same with Johanns and Hagel. He's alienated himself from the Nebraska GOP apparatus and won't win them back.

2) Remember the ole' "I'm so sick of being tough on criminals that I am about to puke. Some politicians (Heineman) use this to look tough on crime and get elected because of it." Yep, I'm guessing this one is going to bite Bruning a couple times. For one, he was the attorney general saying these things and can now be perceived as being soft on crime. And another, he was talking about Heineman using it to get elected. I'm guessing Dave didn't like that too much.

3)Bruning was a liberal columnist at UNL. (he flip-flopped, why? Maybe he was posturing himself for power in NE way back when and had an epiphany that liberals don't win here). Yes, Jon Bruning has been 'offsides' before, if anyone knows what speech I'm referring to.

4)He was also a frat guy. I'm guessing he did something to perturb someone along the way and God knows what skeletons he has in his closet.

5) Fiscal restraint. How in his right mind can he run on a fiscally conservative ticket (which is big in Nebraska) when he ran commercials last election season with NO ONE running against him??? Seems to me he could have helped out more Republican candidates (ie-legislative candidates or Ricketts) with those $$ and not grandstand like a fool with commercials. Those same senators will tell their circles who to vote for come '08.

6)No grassroots. Anyone who's ever seen Bruning at any function sees the same faces with him. Who are they? What do they do? Never seen them in circles before, how can they win a primary against the old guard?

This is Johanns' to take. Daub, Fortenberry, and Terry would beat Bruning in a primary once hard campaigning came about.

My 2 cents.

Amused said...

Johanns is making no sounds about running, He didn't want to run against Landslide Ben when the CW said Ben was dead in the water (nothing like a doofus billionaire to revive a career politician's career.)

Consider: Hagel used to have a tight fist on the entire NEGOP. He and LoonyAnn burned some bridges last year - anyone remember how pissed off at them Gomer Terry was?

Now,everyone is scrambling over the political egg Hagel laid the other day. Is it possible, remootely possible, that Hagel today is weaker in NE than Sarpy County Ben was in 2005? The polling from last year indicated as much. Nelson was consistently more popular than Hagel among Dems, Indies and GOPers.

AS Hagel's career circles the drain, the new sharks smell blood and opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I say who the hell should care right now? This subject is pointless until someone, in fact, announces that they are actually going to run for office.
As for the author of this blog: Trying to make a fool of someone in the media by making false statements isn't going to get you any further in life. I pity you. Some advice: grow up and write about something meaningful.

Street Sweeper said...

Anonymous, our most recent remarks about a member of the media are accurate.

SweetWillis said...

To Anonymous (or your alias, Cal Collins): If you are so concerned about the sanctity of your image as a reporterette maybe you should steer clear of taking drunken photos with political candidates and then posting them on myspace or facebook. But, then again, I guess I could be wrong.

Jane Johnson, Omaha said...

Ed Randoulph:
You have some very good points. Whether or not one personally likes Bruning, his age and charisma are major advantages over Daub and Johannes. These are attributes that can make him a more effective Senator and will ultimately benefit Nebraska.

Sweet Willis:
Skeletons in the closet? If you're talking about all the negatives that came out during the 2004 AG campaign, they were publicly addressed. Nebraskans decided they were not that big of a deal.

snowBLWR said...

Two bits of advice for Miss Collins:

1.) Stop exposing your bias if you expect to be taken seriously as a journalist.

2.) Stop working for KTPM if you expect to be taken seriously as a journalist.