So much news, so little time

This might be a good weekend to visit Roku’s Channel Store or the neighborhood Redbox if you want to avoid the onslaught of campaign ads during the final 11 days of the primary campaign.

In just the Senate race alone, the Washington Post reports that Ben Sasse’s campaign plans to air $200,000 in ads, Shane Osborn’s campaign has purchased $120,000 worth of air time and Sid Dinsdale’s campaign is going up with $80,000 in ads.

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From the Federal Election Commission independent expenditure filings, come these recent tidbits:

  • Since switching its endorsement from Osborn to Sasse, FreedomWorks for America has spent about $13,500 for online ads supporting Sasse and another thousand on email, social media and printing.
  • Tea Party Patriotic Citizens Fund, another pro-Sasse group, has spent about $17,000 on telemarketing. Those are the folks to blame when your phone rings.
  •  The Senate Conservatives Fund has spent another $27,500 on direct mail and the online processing of contributions, which brings its total outside support to Sasse to $496,303.20
  • Club for Growth Action, another PAC supporting Sasse, has spent more than $220,000 since April 24 for production costs and TV ad time for anti-Osborn ads.
  • Freedom Pioneer Action Network spent $103,525.80 on April 28 for advertising services and communications opposing Sasse.
  • America Inc. spent $50,000 on May 2 for digital production costs and online ads opposing Dinsdale.
  • The FEC says Nebraska Senate candidates have benefited from  $1,536,131.10 in independent expenditures thus far.

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Additionally, the Leavenworth Street political blog has reported that a $200,000 ad buy for the May 3-12 period that was originally purchased by Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska has been handed off to The 60 Plus Association.

As you may recall, Ben Sasse’s great uncle, Rupert Dunklau of Fremont, gave Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska $100,000 last month to finance an anti-Osborn ad. Dunklau, a retired Valmont executive, was the PAC’s sole contributor.

Maybe Uncle Rupert, a well-known philanthropist in the Fremont area, is tired of seeing his name attached to negative ads. In any event, it was unseemly for Sasse, whose campaign told the Omaha World-Herald that Sasse asked his uncle to donate to the group, to claim he’s running a clean campaign at the same time he’s asking relatives for contributions for attack ads.

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Before leaving the topic of outside money in campaigns entirely, the Wesleyan Media Project has issued a report saying that outside interest groups sponsored, on average, 59 percent of the TV ads that have run in Senate races this cycle. In 2012, it was 51 percent.

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Two new polls came out this week for the Nebraska Senate race. Neither meets the reliability criteria for mainstream media coverage, and both raise as many questions as they answer, but they follow below. Forewarned is forearmed.

The first one came from the Sasse campaign and shows him leading with 31 percent, Osborn six points behind at 25 percent, and Dinsdale in third with 22 percent. Bart McLeay was fourth with 5 percent, and Clifton R. Johnson fifth with 3 percent. Undecideds: 12 percent.

The second is from Tea Party Express. It has Sasse leading Osborn 29.2 percent to 26.8 percent. Dinsdale is third with 12.8 percent and Bart McLeay trailed with 3.3 percent. Undecideds: 27.9 percent.

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Sasse-backers are advancing the storyline that the Osborn campaign is dead in the water, and Dinsdale is rapidly gaining ground. It may be true, or it may be just what Ben’s supporters want you to believe. What could be better for Sasse than to have Osborn, the overwhelming favorite at the start of the campaign, to be now perceived as flailing?

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You know you’re doing well when they start attacking you, which should be slim comfort to Sid Dinsdale. Erick Erickson at the Red State blog, who has endorsed Sasse, wrote this week that Sid Dinsdale’s daughter was a board member at Planned Parenthood, and that both Dinsdale’s daughter and his wife were contributors to pro-abortion groups.

Dinsdale said his family has never contributed to pro-choice groups. It was Dinsdale’s sister who was once a member of the Planned Parenthood board. Dinsdale himself has been endorsed by Nebraska Right to Life.

While he was at it, Erickson also frothed that Dinsdale is a really a Democrat. Some of it is pretty silly stuff, but it’s hard to believe the daughter/sister mixup was an innocent mistake. There have been plenty of pictures of the Dinsdale family on Twitter and whatnot. Sid’s daughters aren’t old enough to be serving on those types of boards.

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Both Nebraska Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer voted with the majority of their Republican colleagues to stall a measure to raise the national minimum wage.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican to vote for allowing  an up-or-down vote. He said he doesn’t support raising the minimum wage, but thinks the issue should be debated.

Raising the minimum wage is a longshot right now, but Democrats are hoping to build enough public pressure this midterm election year to finally get it through. The bill is sponsored by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring from the Senate next year.

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You can also expect another symbolic vote next week in the Senate, this one involving the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in tight reelection battles are eager to cast a vote that tells constituents they want the pipeline built now. The vote might come on a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution or an actual law. Any legislation would likely be vetoed, however, leaving the vote meaningless.

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A belated happy birthday to country music icon Willie Nelson, who turned 81, and Attorney General, and Republican candidate for governor, Jon Bruning. He turned 45 this week.

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.

 

Back to the kitchen?

Anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly in her 1970s heyday, and today with Shane Osborn.

Anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly in her 1970s heyday, and today with Shane Osborn.

UVoted4them.com has been waiting to see women’s issues emerge in the rhetoric of the Republican Senate race, and so far we’ve been disappointed. Until Tuesday, there was nothing — zip, zilch, nada — to lead us to believe the candidates considered women to be anything other than shapelier men.

And then Shane Osborn snagged the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly.

Among Republican men, Mrs. Schlafly is highly regarded as a pioneer of the anti-feminist movement, the woman who almost single-handedly stopped the Equal Rights Amendment from ratification by the states during the 1970s.

With dire predictions that  constitutional protections for women would lead to such unthinkables as female soldiers in combat and unisex bathrooms, Mrs. Schlafly’s campaign stopped the ratification process almost overnight. She believed a woman’s place was in the kitchen, and there was no such thing as marital rape. (If he’s your husband, you haven’t been raped.)

Now 89, Mrs. Schlafly is still active in politics. Last month she agreed with a fringe conservative talk show host who suggested that conservative Americans launch a Ukraine-style 100-million-person march on the White House and depose President Obama.

“I don’t think our military and the few pitiful police they have would fire on the American people,”  host Stan Solomon said.  “We need to clean out that cesspool of Democrats and Republicans, of illegals, certainly, and say it’s to save America for Americans, basically.”

Replied Schlafly: “Yes. I agree. America for Americans.”

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Having sent the message that women still belong in the kitchen, and that it might be time to end that nearly 250-year-old American tradition of democratic elections, Osborn and other Republicans might try to woo women with support for a rise in the minimum wage.

Voices for Children in Nebraska has released a poll showing majority support in Nebraska for raising the minimum wage. Among Democrats, 85 percent supported raising the minimum wage, as did 57 percent of independents and 35 percent of Republicans. A Gallup Poll from Thursday shows 71 percent support for a minimum wage increase nationally.

After all, independents are the fastest-growing group of voters in Nebraska, and 60 percent of workers earning minimum wage are women. Should we really have a minimum wage so low that someone who works 40 hours a week still lives in poverty?

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Also on the subject of endorsements, awards and etceteras:

  • KWBE/1450 in Beatrice is reporting that Sen. Mike Johanns will not be making an endorsement in the 2014 Senate race.
  • Senate candidate Ben Sasse, meanwhile, has received the endorsement of Utah Senator and Ted Cruz chum Mike Lee.
  • Pinnacle Bancorp Chairman and Republican Senate candidate Sid Dinsdale is one of seven men who will be inducted into the Commercial Real Estate Summit Hall of Fame this year. The award recognizes individuals and their companies “for contributing to the state’s growth through construction, banking, law and development,” according to an Omaha World-Herald article by Cindy Gonzalez.
  • Democratic Senate candidate Dave Domina held a Q-and-A session with Nebraskans on Reddit on Thursday. It’s a nifty way to handle voter questions, and I highly recommend it as a replacement for those “telephone town halls” used by Nebraska’s members of Congress. There’s no hanging on the phone for 40 minutes, and everybody gets to ask questions. You can read the questions and answers here.

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Did we mention that candidate Osborn attended one of those two-day  seminars designed, among other things, to teach Republican candidates how to reach female voters and speak in female-friendly terms? Click on the link to learn more.