Nebraska Archive:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NE-01: Some More Thoughts on Moul

Posted by DavidNYC

Reader J., a former Nebraskan who's worked for Maxine Moul in the past, writes in with some good local color on the unexpectedly competitive race in NE-01:

The district is demographically split between rural and urban with Lincoln as the urban base. In the past Dems suffered two ailments, first they weren’t able to cross over between the two demographics, either the candidates represented the urban portion and were trounced in the ruralarea - or they came from the rural area and didn’t get the turnout push they needed in Lincoln. Second, until 2004 the area was represented by a well respected, moderate, entrenched incumbent Rep. Doug Bereuter. Rep. Bereuter had a virtual lock on the district for 26 years.

That lock is gone. Maxine is the real deal for the following reasons:

• She was born and raised in the rural area of the district.
• She has lived in Lincoln for approximately 15 years and is extremely well known in that community.
• As LTG she made economic development in rural NE her priority and regularly toured the rural areas in support of community economic development.
• She resigned as LTG to take the cabinet level post of Economic Development Director (in NE this position is probably as or more visible than the LTG) where she again put a special emphasis on rural development.
• She is very well liked and respected by the business community throughout the state and I would be surprised if she doesn’t receive significant crossover support.
• Recent Democrats such Ben Nelson, Bob Kerry and Jim Exon have all won this district as part of statewide campaigns.

On the opposition research side:

• Fortenberry is not a Nebraskan, he was born and raised in LA and educated in DC (I believe) He’s only live in NE for around 10 years.
• He won the Republican primary because the club for growth entered the race and clobbered the two moderates (one truly moderate, the other sort of moderate) with negative ads. Bloodied, the the two moderates split what remained of that vote and he snuck through with the conservative base and helping of misled moderates.

In the general Fortenberry rode Bush’s coattails to a 54% victory, but underperformed Bush in the district. The Dem Sen. Matt Conneally (a rural member of the Unicameral) performed well (around 43%) but failed to mobilize the urban constituency and what he did accomplish was offset by Fortenberry being identifed as the "Lincoln candidate" (he served a term on the predominately democratic city council) see above demographic reference.

This year Sen. Nelson will be the draw and he can be expected to perform well in the district, his approval is somewhere in the 60-70% range. Moreover, Bush’s statewide approval has dropped significantly (approx 8-10% since May of last year) since 2004. Finally Maxine's identification with both the rural and urban constiuency should blunt Fortenberrys abilty to identify as the "Lincoln candidate" and still perfom well in the rural areas.

In the end this seat may be the stealth seat of the cycle. The key for Maxine is to generate enough money to both organize effectively (the district is fairly huge) and compete with the outside media buys that’ll likely hit once groups outside NE (eg, Club for Growth) see the numbers tighten. It’s unlikely that Maxine will be able to rely on similar national groups (association could have a negative impact), so she’ll need to be able to stand on her own. With all that said, media in NE is affordable comapared to the rest of the country with a likely emphasis on radio (fall campaigns equal farmers in the field with radios).

Meanwhile, commenter HistoryChickInNebraska has some color on Scott Kleeb, running in the open seat in NE-03. I should point out, though, that this is the sixth-most conservative district in the country, by PVI.

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Nebraska | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

NE-01: Moul (D) Makes it Official

Posted by DavidNYC

Former NE Lt. Gov. Maxine Moul has filed to run against Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in Nebraska's first Congressional District in the eastern part of the state. Though Moul stepped down from her job in 1993, I have to imagine that a former Lieutenant Governor running for Congress ought to make a pretty strong candidate. (Moul beat four other candidates in her original Lt. Gov. primary.)

Furthermore, Fortenberry is a freshman, which means he's at his most vulnerable. Nebraska's Democratic Party has also been reinvigorated of late. That said, this district went for Bush 63-36, so we're talking Chet Edwards territory (ie, very thin air for Democrats). However, Fortenberry dramatically underperformed Bush in 2004, winning by just 54-43.

Moul doesn't appear to have a website yet, but she's going on a launch tour. If you live in NE, you can check out her event locations and dates here.

Posted at 03:17 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Nebraska | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

NE-03: Scott Kleeb Announces Congressional Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Hotline and the Nebraska Democrats, meet Scott Kleeb, running for NE-03. This is Tom Osborne's seat, he's running for Governor. In 2000, the D landed 16%; in 2002 there was no Democrat; in 2004 the Democrat won 11%. The district is everything west of Columbus and accounts for 80% of Nebraska's acreage.

The Omaha World Herald reports:

Scott Kleeb, 30, a Yale graduate who works on a Dunning ranch, said Tuesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Republican Rep. Tom Osborne.

Kleeb is the first Democrat to enter the race for the 3rd District, long considered a GOP stronghold.

Six Republicans already are dueling for their party's nomination.

My favorite quote:

I know what it's like to deliver a calf and get it breathing at 3 a.m. ," Kleeb said.

Who is he?

"We need young people coming back to our state. Folks who get their education and come back to the communities that they're from. That's exactly what I'm doing," he said.

Born in Turkey, Kleeb spent the first 19 years of his life in Italy, where his father, a native Nebraskan, taught high school on an Army base.

He attended the University of Colorado for four years, earning bachelor's degrees in history and political science in 1998.

He worked for a year on a ranch near Dunning, the McGinn Cattle Co., which is partly owned by a cousin.

In the fall of 1999, he enrolled in graduate school at Yale University, where he earned master's degrees in international relations and history.

He finished his doctoral thesis this summer - on the history of cattle ranching - and expects to earn his doctorate in history later this year.

Could be fun to watch.

Posted at 11:17 AM in Nebraska | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, August 12, 2005

Nebraska's 93 County Strategy

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Nebraska Democratic Party gets it:

Our red-state strategy, the "93 County Strategy", kicked-off this week with two local Meetups and grassroots training in Hershey, Nebraska on Saturday. And we just had a fantastic article written about our progress. [...]

Remember the blogswarm to support Howard Dean and change the Democratic National Committee's approach to politics? Well, here's the beef: Nebraska is one of the first states in the "50 State Strategy" to get organizers on the ground.

Now that we've got the people -- and more and more Nebraskans are coming on board every day -- it's time to reach out to everyone inside and outside of the state so they can participate.

Thats why we've put a post up to catch your ideas about what needs to happen here in our State

I noticed an interesting comment over at Daily Kos:

Hanging On My Wall... a copy of Tim's first post "My ATM Pin Number" to serve as a "must read" to everyone who comes into my office and wants to talk about online fundraising.

Nice. People need to read Part I and Part II.

Props to the Nebraska Democratic Party for "getting it" enough to go after all 93 counties. Way to grow the base.

Posted at 11:42 AM in Activism, Democrats, Nebraska | Comments (1) | Technorati

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nebraska: Media Does GOP Bidding on Non-Story

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Most people probably haven't heard much about this story, but in Nebraska, the GOP has temporarily succeeded in getting the local media to take its eye off the ball.

You see, the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star doesn't seem to think that thousands of people having a difficult time voting in northern Omaha is a big deal. But when an innocuous reference to Carlos Castillo, Douglas County election commissioner," as "Tio Thomas" appeared on the Nebraska Democratic Party blog, it was a full-feature article, complete with feigned GOP outrage and calls for resignation.

The Nebraska Democratic Party deserves tons of praise for their commitment grassroots outreach. And when its Executive Director Barry Rubin defended the comment, he was spot-on:

[It was a] description of the kind of activities that resulted in changed polling locations, long voting lines, an insufficient number of ballots and the challenge of a disproportionately large number of voters in north Omaha.

"Several hundred, if not thousands of, people were denied the right to vote," Rubin said. That's the real slur.

I'll take it a step further. The real slur is that we live in a media-society that believes faux outrage is deserving of a full-feature article, but doesn't have the time or space to devote an entire article, let alone a full-scale investigation, into voter disenfranchisement in its own backyward. This isn't news, it's "scandal" driven infotainment well beneath any organization in place to serve the public interest.

In other words, Lincoln Journal Star, do your job.

This newspaper has written about voter disenfranchisement in the West Bank and Ukraine, but when I got off the phone with an editor minutes ago, his response was "nothing rings a bell" in regards to covering it in Nebraska. Go figure.

And for Carlos Castillo, I would have some serious conflict about serving the political party of James Sensenbrenner, Tom Tancredo, and the orgasmic joy some are taking in the speculation that James Gilchrist, of "Minuteman" fame, might run for Congress in CA-48.

But that shouldn't shock anyone, because its not like you are serving the people of Nebraska anyway in your role as election commissioner.

Posted at 03:13 PM in Nebraska | Technorati

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska

Posted by Tim Tagaris

As Gov. Dean dives deeper and deeper into his plan to rebuild the grassroots of the party, state by state, those still waiting with their hands out need look no further than the great state of Nebraska. Truth be told, they were getting down to business well before the DNC selected them as one of the first benefactors of the 50 state plan.

Bob mentioned their email earlier today that didn't even ask for a penny in the communique. They simply wanted us to know they have a beautiful new site with many opportunities to get involved and activated within the state.

Frankly, I can't say enough good things about Nebraska.

Here is a state, while waiting for their new site, was so hungry to participate in two-way communication with the grassroots that they started a well-attended blogspot site.

Here is a state that the University of Nebraska-Omaha calls home. The students at that school are holding their own Frist Filibuster (like the Princeton students) RIGHT NOW! Weeks after the comrpomise, they are still keeping news of the Republican power grab/over-reach in the news. That's "throwing them an anvil."

But of course, no one should really be surprised, because that's the same school that has their own College Democrats blog--one that always seems to have all kinds of comments and discussion going on.

Here is a state, whose Executive Deputy Director for the Democratic Party, Heath Mello, has gone around emailing bloggers ASKING THEM FOR THEIR ADVICE on how to make the new Nebraska Democratic Party website the best vehicle for participation and two-way communication it can be.

So, in a word, Nebraska!

Posted at 05:32 PM in Nebraska | Comments (1) | Technorati

Nebraska Growing the Grassroots

Posted by Bob Brigham

From an email:

The media likes to paint Nebraska with a broad brush -- they like to paint us red. They don’t leave room for the Democrats in our state who stand for values that every American can embrace.

We don’t need political pundits to tell us what we Nebraskans already know. It’s time for us to stand together as proud Democrats.

We have work to do, for sure. We’ve got to strengthen our party by organizing the Democrats that live in every community across our state. By building this network, we will stand up for our values and win elections -- and show those so-called experts that Nebraska shouldn’t be stereotyped – that we are the home of Morrison, Exon, Zorinsky, Kerrey, and Nelson.

We cannot do this without your help. The first step is joining thousands of your fellow Democrats in our growing grassroots network. Visit your new website and be part of the action now:

Last year, we won two-thirds of our targeted state and local races. Thanks to the hard work of Democrats across Nebraska, we have more state Senators, county officials, mayors and city council people, Natural Resources District members, state School Board members, College Board members, and Public Power Board members.

But we’re not stopping here. We can’t wait for 2006 -- we’ve got to get ready now not just for the next election, but for the next decade. We can and will build a top-notch organization that will connect Democrats in every county and every community – and with your help, we will recruit great candidates at every ballot level and provide them the tools they need to compete and succeed.

We're rebuilding the NDP from the ground up, training local activists through Camp Connealy -- our top-notch political training program -- and working to develop a lasting Democratic community from Scottsbluff to Omaha.

Get on board now:

The work ahead will be tough -- but with a strong organization and the involvement of every Democrat, we can make it happen.

Thank you, and welcome to the new Nebraska Democratic Party.

With Warm Wishes,

Barry Rubin, Executive Director

An email that asks for involvement, not money. When people click-through to the new website, they're greeted with a pic of Memorial Stadium. The website looks timeless and it has a blog.

There's lots of good stuff going on in Nebraska...proud Democrats who get it.

Posted at 05:01 PM in Nebraska, Netroots | Technorati

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nuclear Option: NE, PA, OH, VI Calls

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you live in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia -- pick up your phone right now and help save the Senate. Details after the jump...

From NHC1978 on Daily Kos:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:

Philadelphia Office:

Pittsburgh Office:

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nebraska, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

Friday, February 04, 2005

Taking it to Bush in Omaha

Posted by Tim Tagaris

President Bush arrived in Nebraska this morning to campaign for the corporatization of social security. The University of Nebraska (Omaha) College Democrats met the president, 300 strong, to protest.

You can find the entry on their blog. The group also has photos from the protest that you can take a look at here. We certainly need more of this type of on-the-ground reporting through the blogosphere. I am thankful they took the time to detail, online, the days events through photos.

It is worth noting that 4 of the five states on the president's current trip have contested US Senate elections in 2006. Three of those states, Nebraska, Montana, and Florida have Democratic senators and are all "red states."

In Nebraska, Senator Ben Nelson has dodged two bullets in the early stages of the campaign. First, Governor Mike Johanns was named Secretary of Agriculture in the president's administration. Then Nebraska football coach and beloved congressman, Tom Osborne, decided he would stay put in the House, for the time being.

Nelson eeked out a victory in 2000--51% to 49% over Republican Don Stenberg.

Posted at 08:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida, Montana, Nebraska | Technorati

Friday, December 10, 2004

US Senate 2006: Ben Nelson's Nine Lives

Posted by Tim Tagaris

At the start of this election cycle, Democratic Senator from Nebraska Ben Nelson figured to have one of the largest bulls-eyes on his back.  At first, many speculated that Governor Mike Johanns would be Nelson's challenger for the Senate seat. Then the President appointed him as Agriculture Secretary.

That seemed to clear the way for current Congressman and former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne to make a run at Nelson's seat.  But Osborne made it clear yesterday that he will not make a run for the seat either.

"I thought this Senate thing had taken on a life of its own," he said. "I thought before people got all worked up about it I better put the thought to rest. ... I had never seriously considered it."

He did not rule out a run for Governor in 2006.

Osborne said he intends to announce by June whether he intends to run for governor or re-election representing the 3rd Congressional District.

This leaves a few more Republicans on a shrinking list of candidates to challenge Senator Nelson. 

  • Republican State Attorney General Jon Bruning
  • Republican State Senator Kermit Brashear
  • Republican State Party Chairman David Kramer

Posted at 07:29 AM in Nebraska | Comments (2) | Technorati

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