Saturday edition

Dave Domina, Nebraska's Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate

Dave Domina, Nebraska’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate

Democratic Senate candidate Dave Domina has announced via Twitter that he will appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. uVoted4them.com is betting that Domina will appear on a segment about the proposed Keystone Pipeline. (Preview it here.) Domina is one of the lawyers on the front-lines in the legal battle between property owners and the pipeline’s owner, TransCanada.

“Meet the Press” appears at different times around the country, usually scheduled around local affiliates’ religious programming. You can watch the program online here.

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Congratulations to Joe Ricketts’ Ending Spending PAC for finding its way into FactCheck.org’s Players Guide 2014, an info-base about  groups seeking to influence elections this year. Members are largely selected based on the amounts they spend and/or the media attention they receive. FactCheck.org also has a nice section, Party Lines, that untangles truth from fiction in common political arguments.

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House Republicans made their 55th stab at repealing Obamacare last week when they voted to pass a measure that would change the definition of full-time work.

Nebraska Reps. Lee Terry, Adrian Smith and Jeff Fortenberry all voted for the Save Workers Act of 2014, which would redefine “full-time” work for the purposes of Obamacare as a 40-hour work week. Currently, employees qualify for coverage under Obamacare if they work 30 hours per week.

Eighteen Democratic House members facing stiff primary elections joined 230 Republicans in voting for the measure. Chances that it will go anywhere in the Democratically controlled Senate? Zero.

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Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse and Utah Sen. Mike Lee shared a byline April 3 in an anti-Obamacare op-ed in the uber-conservative Washington Examiner. There’s nothing new for Nebraskans who’ve been following Sasse. It’s the same old Obama-is-a-liar and Obamacare-is-awful spiel.The Examiner is owned by the same billionaire who owns The Weekly Standard.

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 As American politicians continue to haggle over raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10, the German parliament is expected to take up a proposal that would set that nation’s minimum wage at the dollar-equivalent of $11.75. The German cabinet approved the increase last week and, if passed by parliament, would give Germans their first official minimum wage. Current law simply forbids employers from paying “immoral wages.” Trade unions and business groups generally regulate wages.

Each of Nebraska’s four Republican candidates for Senate — Sid Dinsdale, Bart McLeay, Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse — opposes raising the minimum wage for American workers, and all said at a recent debate that they would be fine with eliminating the minimum wage altogether. Democratic candidate for Senate Dave Domina supports raising the minimum wage.

 

Endorsements, stereotypes and bad jokes

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, the Republican representing Nebraska’s 1st District, has endorsed Ben Sasse in the Senate race and Pete Ricketts in the race for governor. Sasse was Fortenberry’s chief of staff during the “spring of 2005,” according to the Omaha World-Herald. We’ll have more to say about Fortenberry’s endorsement in an upcoming post.

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U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer will be campaigning later this month in Iowa for Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, according to the Weekly Standard. Former Alaska Gov. and Tea Party royalty Sarah Palin, who endorsed Fischer in 2012, has also endorsed Ernst and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and Pete Ricketts. Palin endorsed Sasse for Senate in a Facebook post; she endorsed Ricketts for governor at a splashy event in Grand Island. The World-Herald has a nice photo of the two.

Tom Brewer's military career makes impressive campaign visuals, but you'd think it would also make him less likely to jump to conclusions about his fellow soldiers.

Tom Brewer’s military career makes impressive campaign visuals, but you’d think it would make him less likely to jump to conclusions about his fellow soldiers.

The day after Wednesday’s deadly shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, retired Army Col. Tom Brewer has issued a statement calling for all personnel on military bases to carry guns.

“The men and women of the United States military have spilled their blood across the globe to protect our way of life and the rights given to use by the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. These rights should not be denied by our own government on American soil,” Brewer said in a news release.

The 36-year Army veteran, who served six tours of duty in Afghanistan, is Rep. Adrian Smith’s Republican opponent in Nebraska 3rd District. They will debate April 25. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Mark Sullivan of Doniphan.

Only law enforcement and security are currently allowed to carry guns on military bases. uVoted4them.com doesn’t want to be rude, but asks the question: If everyone is in uniform, and everyone has a gun, how is anyone going to be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys when the shooting breaks out?

We know Col. Brewer is a man of action, but isn’t it unfair to every veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to jump to the conclusion that the shooter, 34-year-old Ivan Lopez, suffered from PTSD? All we’ve heard is that he had been treated for depression, anxiety and sleep deprivation. PTSD was only one of the diagnoses being explored, and not everyone with PTSD goes on murderous rampages.

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One of uvoted4them.com’s email treats is Daily Kos’ daily roundup of campaign news from across the nation, which is usually handled in a far less ideological manner than most Kos content.

Here’s part of the email from Thursday:
Jesus

No, Jesus hasn’t entered a Nebraska House race. And, no, state Sen. Ernie Chambers hasn’t sued Jesus. “Jesus. Seriously?” was Daily Kos’ reaction to 2nd District Rep. Lee Terry’s insensitive joke about being late to a committee hearing because his plane was delayed, maybe because of a faulty ignition switch.

The hearing was about faulty ignition switches on General Motors vehicles linked to 13 deaths. GM hid the problem from 2001 until finally issuing a recent recall of 2.6 million vehicles earlier this year.

This is the second time in about six months Terry has gotten national attention for foot-in-mouth disease. He faces businessman Dan Frei in the Republican primary. State Sen. Brad Ashford is the Democrat in the race. Terry has apologized.

 

A little bit of everything

The good news for Michael Wilson is that, at 20, his arrest for underage drinking will qualify for one of those “young and dumb” excuses when he runs for office at 40.

Michael Wilson says his M.I.P arrest shouldn't affect voters, because he's the same person he was before he was arrested. Ah, youth. No, Michael, you are now a person with a rap sheet.

Michael Wilson says his M.I.P arrest shouldn’t affect voters, because he’s the same person he was before he was arrested. Ah, youth. No, Michael, you are now a person with a rap sheet.

The bad news for Michael Wilson is that his current campaign for Ward 1 of the Fremont City Council is probably over.

The MIP arrest was bad enough, but what has a lot Fremont residents talking is Wilson’s it’s-no-big-deal comments to the Fremont Tribune:
Michael Wilson

Many Fremonters will undoubtedly think twice about voting for a candidate too dumb to understand what every other underage college kid knows: You don’t drink noisily in public, at loud parties, where annoyed neighbors are likely to call the police. Wilson, by the way, just turned 20 in March. He studies political science and public relations at Midland University.

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It’s been difficult keeping up with endorsements in the Nebraska Senate race. We hope we’re not leaving anyone out.

Sid Dinsdale — Former congressman and Gov. Charles Thone. Former Nebraska football coach and U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne. Sarpy County board member Don Kelly and Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov. Mayors David Black of Papillion, Doug Kindig of LaVista, Scott Kudrna of Auburn, Rick Landwehr of Lorton, and Jim Timmerman of Gretna.

Bart McLeay — Former U.S. Rep. Jon Christensen of Nebraska’s 2nd District and former U.S. Sen. David Karnes.

Shane Osborn — Steve Forbes, publishing mogul and former presidential candidate, Phyllis Schlafly, National Defense PAC, Combat Veterans for Congress PAC, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Family-PAC Federal, Concerned Women PAC, radio host Rick Amato, and former 3rd District U.S. Rep. Bill Barrett. Former Creighton Law School Dean Patrick Borchers has also endorsed Osborn, as have a dozen or so former or current Nebraska state senators. They include Ray Aguilar, Colby Coash, Pat Engle, Scott Lautenbaugh, Bill Kintner, Rich Pahls, and Scott Price.

Ben Sasse — CatholicVote.org, Freedom Works, Senate Conservatives Fund, Club for Growth, Dick Armey, Rep. Paul Ryan, National Review, Red State blogger Erick Erickson, radio host Mark Levin, Sen. Tom Coburn, Gun Owners for America, Family Research Council, Sen. Mike Lee, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Additionally, all four Republican Senate candidates have been endorsed by Nebraska Right to Life.

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After the defeat of measures that would expand Medicaid and raise the minimum wage in Nebraska, a group of state senators is sponsoring a Rally for Working Families next week at the state Capitol. It starts at 5:30 p.m. April 8 on the west (Lincoln statue) side of the Capitol. Check here for more information. Sponsoring Senators include Jeremy Nordquist, Danielle Conrad and Heath Mello.

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Nebraska’s Ricketts family is using their Ending Spending super PAC to launch attack ads against Michelle Nunn, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Ending Spending is spending $150,000 on media time to run the ad that attacks Nunn for — what else? — supporting Obamacare.

Nunn has been polling well, leading three of the four Republican candidates to replace the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and is tied with the Republican frontrunner, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun. Democrats consider Georgia a state where they may pick up a Senate seat. Among those campaigning for Nunn are Vice President Joe Biden.

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It’s not often that we get emails from Sen. Mike Johanns, so his warning about a phishing scam must be important. A group purporting to be the Taxpayer Advocate Service is attempting to collect personal information through an email saying that your 2013 return has been flagged and that you should contact the group. Sen. Johanns recommends not clicking on any of the links and forwarding the email to phishing@irs.gov

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Finally, uVoted4them.com has had enough of the complaints about the legislature’s override of a bill allocating state funds for the renovation of the state Capitol. We’ve been to capitols all over the country, and Nebraska has a one-of-a-kind, the likes of which will never be built again. For those Nebraskans who take for granted our work of art, we post this photo from a current AP story about Art Deco muralist Hildreth Meiere, one of the world-class artists on display every day in Lincoln.

JohnansRotunda2

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Ugh, indeed

In the you-gotta-be-kidding-me category, the Sasse for Senate campaign sent out a fundraising email Sunday saying it needed help to counter the money blitz that pro-Obamacare forces will be heaping on rival Shane Osborn.

Really? There’s a group somewhere in America running pro-Obamacare ads?  On behalf of Republican candidates? You must need X-ray specs or Google glasses to see them because they don’t exist in this world. The only Obamacare ads uVoted4them.com has seen in 2014 are those attacking Democrats. Ask Alex Sink, who was bombarded with waves anti-Obamacare ads in a recent Florida House race.

We’ll post Sasse campaign manager Tyler Grassmeyer’s email so you can read it for yourself. Interestingly, the subject line reads simply “Ugh.” uVoted4them.com is wondering if the “Ugh” is shorthand for “Ugh. I can’t believe my boss is making me send this stupid email.”

By the way, Sasse has released his own plan for health care, Sassecare. Uvoted4them.com hasn’t read it yet, but if we were a drinking blog we’d be hoisting a cup at every mention of “free market solutions.”

UghMarch30

The Ricketts edition

With quarterly campaign finance reports due in just a few days, inboxes are loading up with fundraising appeals, including one from Republican candidate for governor Jon Bruning.

Under the subject line “I will be outspent,” Bruning bemoans the deep pockets of rival Pete Ricketts, the scion of AmeriTrade founder and gazillioniare Joe Ricketts.

BruningMar27fundraisingemail
Chin up, Jon. Whining isn’t the Republican way, and money can’t buy love. Pete Ricketts spent more than $14 million of his own money trying to beat Ben Nelson in the 2006 Senate race and still lost by 12 points.

Besides, it’s not like Ricketts will bombard you with anything new. It’ll be all the old stuff about how you got rich in public office or went easy on your buddies at Nelnet. You did a very nice job of explaining that to Nebraska voters in 2012. Oh, wait. You didn’t. Well, good luck, anyway.

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Speaking of the Ricketts clan, Bloomberg has a good read
about the Ricketts family’s decision to take a page from the Koch brothers playbook by building a network of wealthy supporters for their Ending Spending PAC. Already onboard, according to Bloomberg, is Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who spent $100 million in 2012 to support a handful of Republican candidates, including presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich. No word yet on which five-star resort the Ricketts will choose to entertain their members.

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U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, who sailed to victory after securing the fundraising help of the Ricketts’ political action committee in 2012, was blessed last week with  two new grandchildren, Margaret May and Bryan Carl. One twin was born just before midnight and the other was born just after midnight. These lucky kids don’t have to share a birthday. Parents are Adam and Tisha Fischer.

 

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Shame on Shane

OsbornWebAdChinese

Senate Candidate Shane Osborn’s deliberate circulation of what turned out to be a phony memo from the U.S. Navy has captured media attention nationwide. In Nebraska? That noise you hear is crickets.

On Sunday, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the memo meant to back up Osborn’s decision to land and surrender his spy plane to Chinese soldiers in 2001 was a phony, written at the direction of an Osborn buddy who had a friend working at the Pentagon. It’s on official Navy stationary, but written without authorization or Navy approval.

It’s a stunning report that has been picked up by news sites across the nation. The New York Daily News, NBC News, Fox News, the Weekly Standard, Daily Kos, MSNBC  There are dozens of news sites that have picked up the story. You’ll even find it in tiny little blogs like Actuarial Outpost.

But the reaction from Nebraska’s mainstream media outlets? We’re still waiting for one. uVoted4them.com has patiently watched our Google Alerts and we’ve yet to see one newspaper, television station or radio station here pick up the World-Herald story.

Have Nebraskans lost their morals? Has it suddenly become the accepted move to resolve uncomfortable situations with fakery? This isn’t like forging a note to your elementary school because you went to the movies instead of class. The guy at the Pentagon who wrote Osborn’s memo requested anonymity from the World-Herald because he’ll be in a shipload of trouble with the Navy if he’s found out.

More likely, Nebraska’s traditional media outlets are too timid to rock the boat, which is truly a shame. This episode speaks volumes about Osborn’s moral values, which apparently involve winning the Senate race by any means necessary. The public deserves to know.

(For the record, Osborn’s campaign said they used the phony memo because the campaign did not have time for the memo to rise through the chain of command and receive approval. However, Osborn left the military in 2005, had to contend with this as an issue when he ran for state treasurer, and should have expected to have to face it again this year. He’s had plenty of time over the past nine years to get a memo.)

After days of silence from the Osborn campaign, the candidate has semi-apologized. You can read it here.

Abortion, the big stage and the airwaves

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer appears to be among a group of lawmakers being vetted by the Susan B. Anthony List as potential anti-abortion candidates on the national stage.

Fischer, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, talk show host Mike Huckabee and Utah Sen. Mike Lee were the top names at SBA’s annual Gala & Summit last week in Washington.

Word is that the right-wing group is unhappy that the last two Republican presidential nominees were more concerned about economic issues than social concerns, so it’s looking for anti-abortion candidates it can support in the 2016 primaries.

Part of that effort is finding a way to recast the abortion debate in terms that make it more acceptable to women voters. Fischer attempted to do that during the Susan B. Anthony List event:

“Abortion is not a woman’s issue,” she said. “It is not a men’s issue. it is not a health care issue. It is a violence issue.”

An issue of violence? That argument that is not likely to sway pro-choice female voters, but Fischer did better than Lee, Huckabee and Cruz, who had only red meat to offer the audience.

Huckabee predicted that if abortion is not stopped this generation, the next generation will be killing the elderly. Lee said pro-life voters are savages who embrace a culture of death. Not to be outdone, Cruz called them ruthless worshipers of Satan.

Fischer, in only her second year in the Senate, isn’t likely to find herself in the presidential mix in 2016, but who knows? If male candidates fail to charm female voters in 2016, Fischer might find herself very nicely positioned in 2020.

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Each of the four major candidates for Mike Johanns’ Senate seat have been endorsed by the anti-abortion Nebraska Right to Life PAC. They are Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale, Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay, former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, and Midland University President Ben Sasse.

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Shane Osborn’s campaign, meanwhile, is launching its first television commercial. About a month ago, the organization Special Operations for America ran a 30-second ad independent of the Osborn campaign, but this is the first commercial paid for by the campaign. Roll Call quotes an Osborn source as saying they made an $80,000 ad buy.

The good news and the other news

This lucky little girl will  grow up with the story that she was born during her grandpa's run for U.S. Senate. How many kids can say that? Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Sid Dinsdale on the birth of a new granddaughter, Violet Grace.

This lucky little girl will grow up with the story that she was born during her grandpa’s run for U.S. Senate. How many kids can say that? Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Sid Dinsdale on the birth of a new granddaughter, Violet Grace.

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U.S. Rep. and Mrs. Jeff Fortenberry recently spent eight days in sunny, oceanside Cartagena, Colombia, courtesy of the Aspen Institute. Roll Call’s Political Money Line column reports that the Fortenberrys were among of a contingent of 19 members of Congress (most with spouses) who went to Colombia for an “educational workshop.” The value of the Fortenberrys’ free trip was reported at $5,775.

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If you missed the dust-up between Republican Senate candidates Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse, you didn’t miss anything unless you are on the far-right fringe of Nebraska Republicans.

It all started when Poltico posted a story linking Sasse to a Washington firm’s early jump on the let’s-make-money-from-Obamacare bandwagon. The Weekly Standard then came to Sasse’s defense, saying that it wasn’t true and that the Osborn campaign was peddling oppo research to Politico. Some third party jumped in with old stories about Osborn’s nasty divorce and, well, the fight was still making headlines on Sunday.

Basically, the Politico story suggests that Sasse took the expertise he gained working for former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to the consulting firm Leavitt started after leaving President George W. Bush’s administration.

Sasse says he never made a dime from Leavitt’s firm — and that he never even really worked there — despite his name turning up on some documents and PowerPoint presentations, and former co-workers remembering him at events where Leavitt’s company wooed potential clients looking for help with Obamacare.

So what are Osborn and Sasse fighting about? Which one of them hates Obamacare most, who started hating it first, and how could Sasse even think of making money from the Affordable Care Act if he hated it so much? uVoted4them.com rates this fight as a backseat squabble that needs to end before somebody’s dad stops this car.

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The May primary is still seven weeks away,  but the Sasse campaign has started distributing 14,000 pounds of yard signs. We haven’t seen any signs yet, but  uVoted4Them.com already misses the Lincoln city ordinance that limited campaign signs to the two weeks before the election.

By the way, you have the Legacy Foundation Action Fund to thank for Sasse’s new campaign ads. According to Federal Election Commission filings, the conservative group is spending $25,000 on internet ads and $286,160 on television time.

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There’s a fascinating piece by Dan Balz in Sunday’s Washington Post about how new media consumption habits are changing campaign ad strategy. Less than half of voters (48 percent) say that live TV is their primary source of video content, so politicians are having to diversify their ad mix for those who mostly use steaming video or video on demand.

For those 52 percenters, like uVoted4Them.com, who don’t watch live television, you can see Sasse’s new spot here.

Palin endorses Sasse; more poll numbers

Former Alaska Gov. and Tea Party princess Sarah Palin has endorsed Ben Sasse in the Nebraska Senate race.

“Ben Sasse is the clear conservative choice in the Nebraska Senate Race,” Palin said in her endorsement on Facebook.

“He’s witnessed firsthand the corrosive effect big government policies can have, and he knows that Obamacare is as bad as it gets. Ben is a leader we need in D.C. now! He won’t forget who sent him there because his life is firmly grounded in his small town Nebraska roots.”

Palin, who served half a term as Alaska governor and was Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008, announced on her Facebook page Wednesday that she would soon endorse a string of candidates who had been both thoroughly vetted and were bound to “shake things up.”

Palin and Sasse not only share  a common conservative objection to Obamacare, but also a love of guns.

Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse and his wife celebrated Valentine's Day this year with a romantic evening of gunfire -- an event they shared on Twitter.

Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse and his wife celebrated Valentine’s Day this year with a romantic evening of gunfire — an event they shared on Twitter.

For what it’s worth, Shane Osborn defeated “undecided” 35 percent to 30 percent in a recent poll by Breitbart News and The Polling Company. Ben Sasse came in third with 24 percent. Support for the rest of the Republican field — Sid Dinsdale, Bart McLeay and Clifton Johnson — was in the single digits.

The poll showed that ridding the nation of Obamacare was the main concern of poll respondents, with Osborn leading Sasse 35 percent to 28 percent among those who strongly oppose Obamacare. Forty-three percent of those polled said economic issues were the main factor in their preference.

uVoted4them.com puts this poll in the for-what-it’s worth category for several reasons:

  • Only six weeks ago, the Sasse campaign was trumpeting the news that Sasse had pulled into a dead heat with Osborn in a poll sponsored by the Conservative Intelligence Briefing blog.
  • None of the polls so far has met commonly accepted polling standards. The Sasse surge poll also raised questions about conflicts-of-interest by reporters Scott Clement and Peyton Craighill at the Washington Post.
  • It’s a Breitbart poll.

Are we going to have to wait until May 13 to find out what voters are really thinking?