NE-Sen: Scott Kleeb Ready To Run

(from the diaries – promoted by Trent Thompson)

Multiple press accounts confirm now that Scott Kleeb will make an announcement regarding the U.S. Senate race on Monday.

Lincoln Journal Star:

Scott Kleeb appeared poised Wednesday to enter the 2008 Senate race.

Kleeb, the 2006 Democratic congressional nominee in western and central Nebraska, is planning to reveal his political plans on Monday.

His candidacy would set the stage for a high-profile Democratic primary contest with Columbus industrialist Tony Raimondo for the Senate nomination.

The primary is May 13.  

NE-02: Iraq Veteran Weighs Challenge To Terry

Omaha, Neb. – Richard N. Carter, a U.S. Air Force Reserve Captain with active duty combat experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan, will file Friday with the Federal Election Commission to form an exploratory committee. Carter, a Democrat, is considering a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

   “Nebraskans know that this country needs significant change,” said Carter. “We are tired of the politics of division, fear, and intimidation. We are tired of politicians who march in lock-step with Washington party leadership in support of unpopular policies-policies which are not in the best interest of the American people.”

   “It’s time for a new generation of leadership to step forward and change the direction this country is headed. My experience as a combat officer in the United States Air Force and my graduate work in economics have prepared me to be that kind of leader for the people of the 2nd district.”

Carter is from Bellevue, Nebraska – where STRATCOM and Offutt Air Force Base are located. Jim Esch, who declined to run again in 2006, carried the city of Omaha, but was badly beaten in western Douglas County, Bellevue, Papillion, and La Vista. Of the 17,000 vote margin of victory, half of the margin came from heavily Republican Sarpy County.

As Richard came around to local party meetings over the last week, I had a chance to speak to him on the issues. He will represent this district well, and he is not afraid to take a stand on issues. We can always use more people like him in Congress.


NE-Sen: Raimondo “Urged” To Run, By State, National Democrats

As the New Nebraska Network first reported last Monday, Republican Tony Raimondo is considering running for Senate as a Democrat. In today’s Lincoln Journal Star, he openly considered the possibility in an interview with Don Walton.

Columbus industrialist Tony Raimondo said Monday he’s considering entering the 2008 Senate race as a Democrat.

Raimondo, who stepped away from a possible Republican bid after Mike Johanns entered the contest, said he’s been urged by national and state Democratic officials to consider making the race within their party.

“Those discussions are continuing to move on,” Raimondo said.  “Obviously, there’s some interest on both sides.”

Raimondo, you may recall, was Bush’s pick back in 2004 for “manufacturing czar,” but his nomination was withdrawn after questions about his anti-labor practices as chairman of Behlen Manufacturing.

Straight from Raimondo, now, we have confirmation that the rumors we were hearing a week ago were true. Ben Nelson, the NDP, and the DSCC, are recruiting a Republican, who less than two months ago was running for Senate as a Republican, to run under the Democratic banner.

If we’re serious about competing everywhere – in all fifty states – we cannot allow this to stand. The Democratic Party in Nebraska will become worse than a joke. Let’s make sure we have a voice for Democrats in Nebraska. Let’s get Scott Kleeb in this race.

On the web: Draft Kleeb

NE-Sen: DSCC Recruiting Failed Bush Nominee

Ryan Anderson at the New Nebraska Network reported this morning on the increased chatter that Republican businessman Tony Raimondo was considering running for Senate… as a Democrat. This is a terrifying proposition, as I will explain in a moment, but worse than that is the information that we are hearing from several sources: the DSCC and the NDP are actively recruiting Raimondo to run for this Senate seat. Their logic? Money trumps all. Because it worked so well for 2006 Republican Senate candidate Pete Ricketts.

In 2004 Tony Raimondo was the Bush Administration’s pick for the newly created position of “manufacturing czar”, but after an outcry from the left (led
brilliantly by the John Kerry campaign) his name was withdrawn from consideration.  Why?

the position last year he said the nation had “lost thousands of jobs
in manufacturing…some of it because production moved overseas.” And
some of the jobs moved overseas were moved by Tony Raimondo. In 2002,
just four months after laying off 75 U.S. workers, Raimondo announced
he planned to build “a $3 million factory in northwest
Beijing…employing 180.” For his part, Raimondo was “unavailable for
comment” because he was on a “business trip to China.”

TONY RAIMONDO IS HOSTILE TO WORKERS: Raimondo is “a longtime board
member of the National Association of Manufacturers,” a group that is
notorious for opposing efforts to improve conditions for American
workers. NAM has lobbied to strip 8 million workers of federal
overtime protections, consistently opposed any effort to increase the
minimum wage to keep up with inflation and fought workplace safety

TONY RAIMONDO IS A UNION BUSTER: According to the business publication
Inc. Magazine, shortly after Raimondo took over Behlen in 1982 he
pushed hard to decertify the labor union operating at his company.
Raimondo coached management to sweet talk likely union supporters just
prior to the vote and, on a close vote, was able to bust the union.
Later, Raimondo said that had he not been able to get rid of the union
he was not sure he would “have had the courage or determination” to
continue operating the company.

leadership Behlen has been accused by the federal government of
maintaining unsafe working conditions. On 5/16/98 The Omaha
World-Herald reported “the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration has proposed a $123,000 fine against Behlen
Manufacturing Co. of Columbus for alleged safety violations that
resulted in an employee being injured.”

Omaha World-Herald reported “Bush was meeting with Nebraskan Tony
Raimondo and dozens of other small business executives as part of his
weeklong effort to build momentum for his tax package.” Raimondo was a
natural ally – he had twice given the maximum contribution to Bush’s
presidential campaign. The tax cuts Raimondo supported will cut the
taxes of a middle class manufacturing worker (making about $35,000
year) $560 next year. Meanwhile the top 1% of earners (who make, on
average, about $1 million a year) will rake in over $41,000 because of
the tax cuts.

Will the next item on this list be: TONY RAIMONDO IS YOUR NOMINEE FOR SENATE?

We need to fight this.  We have the opportunity to recruit a real
warrior in this race, Scott Kleeb, who will make Democrats stand up
and be proud.  But we are in danger of having Scott passed over in
favor of a George Bush Republican with a large bank account.  We need
to send the DSCC a strong message today: our party is not for sale.
Not to Tony Raimondo.  Not to George Bush.  Not to anyone.

Help Draft Kleeb and donate on Actblue today.

(Crossposted from UNO Democrats)

NE-Sen: Hagel Will Announce Retirement Monday (Updated)

(From the diaries. Maybe he’s going to anounce once more that he’s not going to announce. – promoted by James L.)

Don Walton confirms it:

Sen. Chuck Hagel will announce Monday he’ll not seek re-election next year.

Hagel also will tell an Omaha news conference he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008, clamping a lid on speculation he might be pondering a late-inning presidential bid.

In a prelude to Monday’s announcement, he conferred Friday with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Later, Hagel gathered his Washington staff together to inform them of his decision, according to sources close to the senator.

Hagel’s departure at the end of 2008 will bring an end to a meteoric 12-year Senate ride that propelled him to national prominence as the most outspoken Republican opponent of President Bush’s Iraq war policies.

NE-Sen: The Marquee Senate Race of 2008?

From the New Nebraska Network:

The table is set. Labor Day is upon us, and a number of political deadlines are approaching. Decisions ready to be made. Political heavyweights ready to enter the arena, and some apparently ready to exit.

I’ve devoted quite a bit of virtual ink to this race, repeating myself dozens of times, going over every single sign, detail, rumor, or press account to get a better picture of what I believe is the most important race in Nebraska – for Nebraska – in 2008.

The evolution of this race – from the initial rumors of Hagel’s retirement, to Mike Fahey’s potential entry into the race, Hagel’s March “announcement,” and Bruning’s primary challenge, followed by Kerrey’s interest in a potential candidacy, has been one of the most fascinating stories of this young election cycle.

In Don Walton’s article in the Lincoln Journal Star today, this quote stands out:

If it’s ultimately Kerrey versus Johanns after 2008 primary voters have spoken and all the smoke has cleared, Nebraska may play host to next year’s premier Senate race.

So say Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray in The Washington Post.

“A Kerrey-Johanns matchup would be the early front-runner for the marquee race of the 2008 cycle,” they wrote last week.

We wait in anticipation for Kerrey’s decision. More after the jump…

The right-wing blog Leavenworth Street reports a few rumors of note, including this one:

The word on the Street is that Mike Johanns has hired a campaign manager.

Which would be interesting to say the least, because there’s at least two things in that sentence that have Mike Johanns directly violating the Hatch Act. Maybe the rumormongers want to back off a bit before they get their preferred candidate into trouble with the law? Oh, wait, that’s right, the Justice Department doesn’t prosecute Republicans – especially members of the Bush administration.

Speaking of Republicans having total disregard for campaign law, there’s Jon Bruning, who placed an ad in the Omaha World-Herald on Thursday. Okay, you say, so what’s the problem? It was paid for by Jon Bruning for Attorney General. The NDP blog explains the rest:

This ad was financed with soft money – money collected without adhering to the rigorous standards required by the FEC in federal elections. State-level and lower candidates use only soft money for their campaigns.

The problem is that Mr. Bruning has announced – three times, no less – that he’s running for a federal office. And I think even a lawyer as practiced as Jon Bruning would be hard-pressed to convince Nebraskans that this ad is not intended to help his numbers in his bid for Senate.

Then, of course, there’s Pat Flynn, the fringe candidate who, in his campaign announcement, decided it was a good idea to get out in front of the story:

Pat has not always led an exemplary life. He had some encounters with the law regarding alcohol and marijuana when he was in his twenties. Thankfully, the law won these battles and today these experiences are looked upon as an asset because of the life-change that occurred. With the help of God, a recovery program and the love of friends and family, Pat’s life has changed and he has been able to help effect change in other’s lives because of this experience. Pat is not proud of this part of his past but has taken full responsibility for his actions and understands well the concerns and challenges of many others who are dealing with these issues in their own lives.

Here’s guessing that Flynn’s candidacy is already “up in smoke.”

NE-Sen: Kerrey Moving Closer To Decision

Don Walton has the story:

Bob Kerrey stepped to the brink of a possible 2008 Senate bid Thursday.

Kerrey placed a conference call to New School University trustees in New York City to inform them he may be returning to Nebraska.

A decision on whether to return to his roots and attempt to once again represent Nebraska in the Senate is likely “within the next couple of weeks,” Kerrey said in a telephone interview.

This pretty much lines up with the timeline of Hagel's decision. By Labor Day, we're going to know what the field looks like.

On every issue outside of Iraq and Social Security, Kerrey's as progressive a Democrat as you will find in the state of Nebraska. He's popular, he's not afraid of a fight, and he knows how to win elections. 

You can talk about his “Liebermanesque” tendencies to bash Democrats, but he doesn't pull punches on the Republicans (I'm sure you've heard his take on the etymology of Rick Santorum's last name, or at least what Rudy Giuliani should have said on 9/11).

He was a huge supporter of Jim Webb in Virginia, and of course Scott Kleeb in Nebraska. And in four years as governor, and twelve years as Senator, he did everything he could for the state of Nebraska. I'd support a Kerrey for Senate campaign without reservation. We'll see in the next couple of weeks if that's a reality. 

NE-Sen: Hey, Why Not One More Candidate?


Pat Flynn, a Republican from Schuyler, NE, has entered the U.S. Senate race.

So, who is he? Here's his website bio:

For the past 13 years, Pat has been a volunteer youth minister with high school teens. This has been one of his most rewarding challenges in his life because of the amount of time involved and the humbling experience of sharing his faith. The Schuyler youth group has been one of the most prolific in the state of Nebraska and has received numerous international, national, and local awards and recognition for its outstanding work.


Pat has not always led an exemplary life. He had some encounters with the law regarding alcohol and marijuana when he was in his twenties. Thankfully, the law won these battles and today these experiences are looked upon as an asset because of the life-change that occurred. With the help of God, a recovery program and the love of friends and family, Pat’s life has changed and he has been able to help effect change in other’s lives because of this experience. Pat is not proud of this part of his past but has taken full responsibility for his actions and understands well the concerns and challenges of many others who are dealing with these issues in their own lives.


 I'm guessing this guy's hovering around Dave Nabity/David Kramer territory in terms of the votes he's going to get in the primary. Maybe even less. But it's been a while since we had any news in this race, so there it is.

NE-Sen: Hagel Gets Crushed In Q2 Fundraising

A couple of weeks ago, Jon Bruning released his Q2 fundraising numbers, coming in at over $720,000 for the quarter, a very good number for a primary challenger.

Now, incumbent Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who two weeks ago said that his campaign would be “well beyond” the amount raised by Bruning, has clocked in at $387,000, a large portion of that coming from a May fundraiser featuring Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The conventional wisdom crystallizing on the ground here is that Hagel is blocking for Johanns – though it’s unclear if Johanns will get in the race, and the longer he waits, the stronger Bruning looks.

As we move closer to the fall, expect some movement one way or the other.