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Posts in "Neb. Senate"

October 22, 2013

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses in Nebraska Senate Race

The Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed Midland University President Ben Sasse in the GOP primary for Nebraska’s open Senate seat.

On Tuesday, the conservative group backed Sasse, choosing him over another top candidate, Shane Osborn, a former state treasurer and war hero, in this unpredictable race to replace retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

Full story

October 1, 2013

First-Time GOP Senate Candidate Posts Knock-Out Fundraising Quarter

Midland University President Benjamin Sasse has raised $800,000 in his first quarter as a candidate for Nebraska’s open Senate seat, one of his top aides confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is retiring, leaving an open GOP primary for his seat in 2014. Sasse’s top competition for the nomination is former state Treasurer Shane Osborn. The GOP nominee will likely be the next senator from this reliably Republican state. Full story

September 13, 2013

This Cycle’s Top 8 Most Fascinating Recruits (So Far)

This Cycles Top 8 Most Fascinating Recruits (So Far)

Walter, a former star quarterback at Arizona State University who went on to play for the Oakland Raiders, is aiming to unseat Sinema. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images File Photo)

A beekeeper, a Gitmo commander and a Bosnian war refugee all want the same thing. It’s not a riddle; it’s the 2014 election cycle.

Congressional candidates often boast a résumé that includes time in local office, terms in the legislature or experience running a business. It’s a formula that instantly boosts name identification with voters.

But the cast of congressional candidates usually offers some upstarts — people with an unusual background, a unique curriculum vitae or an unconventional motivation that gives them a shot at Congress.

Of course, a special résumé does not translate to victory. Several of last cycle’s most-hyped candidates — including Ret. Air Force Col. Martha E. McSally, an Arizona Republican, and former astronaut Jose M. Hernandez, a California Democrat — lost their House races, to Ron Barber and Jeff Denham, respectively. (McSally is running again in 2014).

But an out-of-the-box background can help a candidate break through a tough field. Just ask the former world champion USA Volleyball team member, the double-amputee war hero or the reindeer farmer who won House races last cycle.

In no special order, here are several of this election’s most fascinating candidates for Congress: Full story

September 11, 2013

The Open-Seat Senate Race No One’s Talking About

The Open Seat Senate Race No Ones Talking About

Osborn is running for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The open Senate seat that no one is talking about could get a little more interesting this month.

The retirement of Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., next year has invited a crop of ambitious Republicans that includes rising stars and fresh faces in Nebraska’s political realm. Given the state’s Republican lean, Johanns’ replacement will most likely be decided among them in the May 13 GOP primary.

Already in the race are former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, Midland University President Ben Sasse and attorney Bart McLeay. Sid Dinsdale, head of one of the largest banks in the state and son of a well-known businessman, Roy Dinsdale, will reportedly announce his intentions as early as next week.

Dinsdale’s entrance would provide another wrinkle into what will be an intriguing intraparty slugfest by early next year. Unlike other primaries around the country, this one in the heavily Republican Cornhusker State is not expected to affect the competitiveness of the general election.

But a year after a surprise outcome in the GOP Senate primary produced now-Sen. Deb Fischer, this year’s lineup could be equally unpredictable. Full story

July 23, 2013

Nebraska Senate Field Grows #NESEN

Nebraska Senate Field Grows #NESEN

Osborn is running for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The Nebraska Senate GOP field is beginning to take shape this week, as one Republican moves toward entering the race and another appears likely to seek a different office.

According to The Associated Press, Midland University President Ben Sasse filed paperwork Monday with the Nebraska secretary of state’s office to incorporate “Ben Sasse for U.S. Senate.” If Sasse, who has been on a statewide listening tour, has filed with the Federal Election Commission, it is not yet available online.

Meanwhile, sources close to Pete Ricketts, a wealthy businessman and 2006 Republican nominee for Senate, indicated that he is leaning toward seeking the governorship rather than another bid for Senate. Leavenworth Street, a conservative blog in Nebraska, reported July 18 that Ricketts is all but officially running for governor. Full story

July 18, 2013

Shane Osborn on Steak, Football and Being ‘Beautiful’ | The Candidate #NESEN

Shane Osborn on Steak, Football and Being Beautiful | The Candidate #NESEN

Osborn is running for Senate in Nebraska. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Editor Stuart Rothenberg. This feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed.

The candidate: Former Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn, a Republican
The member: Retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns
The state: Nebraska has voted Republican in all but one presidential election since 1936.
The candidate’s team: Dave Boomer (campaign manager), Brad Todd of OnMessage Inc. (media and general consultant), Sam Fischer of Meridian (direct mail), Dean Dennhardt (finance)

1. Governors, including one in your own state, are turning down opportunities to be one of 100 in the Senate. As someone with a record of running things on your own, why does it interest you?

All my life passions have been fixing things that were broken, and I can’t think of anything more broken than the U.S. Congress.

2. You’re running in part on your credentials as an elected state treasurer. Why would that make you a good senator?

The biggest problem America faces in the future is problems with the debt. My background can provide great value in the U.S. Senate as we try to get the country back on track.

3. What’s the best thing about, or favorite place to go, in your hometown of Waterloo?

Farmer Browns Steak House. You can get a huge steak for $11 or $12.

4. You attended the University of Nebraska on an ROTC scholarship. How are they going to do in football this year?

I think we’ll continue to improve, but our defense is going to have to step up this year. My junior and senior years [1994 and 1995] we won back-to-back championships.

5. Not many candidates can say this: You were featured in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001, fresh off playing a central role as a naval aviator in an international incident between the United States and China. How did that come about, and can you talk about the experience?

People did a whole thing on the crew called, “Born to Fly,” which is what I titled my book. They took a bunch of pictures, and then there it was. … By the time I got back, there were copies hung up all over the base. While some people may like to be named in People’s “Most Beautiful” list, I took a beating. [Editor's note: Osborn was flying a combat mission in Afghanistan following 9/11 on the night of People's gala to celebrate the issue in New York.]

June 3, 2013

Osborn Is First Republican to Enter Senate Race #NESEN

Osborn Is First Republican to Enter Senate Race #NESEN

Johanns will retire in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn is the first Republican to enter the wide-open GOP primary for Nebraska’s open Senate seat.

In an email to the Lincoln Journal-Star, Osborn campaign manager Dave Boomer — who has managed campaigns for GOP Rep. Lee Terry — said Osborn has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission and will be holding kickoff rallies at a later time. Full story

May 29, 2013

Fortenberry not Running for Senate #NESEN

Fortenberry not Running for Senate #NESEN

Fortenberry, right, will not run for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., announced Wednesday he will seek re-election instead of running for the state’s open Senate seat.

“I greatly appreciate the support and encouragement of the many Nebraskans who have urged me to consider a campaign for the United States Senate. After considerable reflection, I have decided not to run for the Senate,” Fortenberry said in a statement.

Fortenberry is the second Republican in the past week to take his name out of the running for a seat that the GOP is heavily favored to hold in 2014. Gov. Dave Heineman, who is term-limited next year and was the top GOP recruit for this race, opted out of running on May 25. Full story

May 25, 2013

Gov. Heineman Won’t Seek Senate #NESEN

Gov. Dave Heineman announced Saturday that he will not seek Nebraska’s open Senate seat, inviting a free-for-all in the Republican primary.

“After careful consideration of all of the issues involved in a race for the United States Senate, I have decided to keep my focus on being the best Governor that I can for the citizens of Nebraska,” Heineman said in a Saturday morning email to supporters. “A race for the United States Senate would distract from the State’s priorities of tax relief, job creation and education.”

Full story

May 15, 2013

Heineman Consults Former Governors Who Served In Senate

As he contemplates a bid for Senate, the GOP’s top recruit — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman — is engaging some former governors who made the same transition.

The shift from a state’s head honcho to being one of 100 is unique. The slow-moving gears and partisanship of the Senate can be frustrating for a former chief executive.

Still, they constitute about one-tenth of the Senate in the 113th Congress. That includes Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns, whose retirement next year after one term in the Senate has led to the heavy recruitment of Heineman.

“The Governor has had several positive and productive conversations with former Governors who went on to be U.S. Senators,” Heineman spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein told CQ Roll Call. “The Governor appreciates these conversations, and has found them to be insightful and valuable as he continues to contemplate his decision. Every indication is that the Governor will make his decision within the next month’s time frame.”

Full story

April 18, 2013

Money Reveals Some Members Aren’t Really Serious About Senate Bids (Yet)

Money Reveals Some Members Arent Really Serious About Senate Bids (Yet)

Rahall is still considering a Senate run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Reps. Steve King, Jeff Fortenberry and Nick J. Rahall II are serious about running for Senate, their campaign fundraising does not show it.

Several House members eyeing Senate bids posted meager numbers, according to Roll Call’s Senate fundraising chart for the first quarter.

In general, members raise major cash to show their political force if they are seriously weighing jumping into a Senate race. For example, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., had raised $525,000 by the end of the first quarter this year, days before he announced he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

(See which House candidates are on Roll Call’s retirement watch list thanks to their anemic fundraising).

Here are a few House candidates who haven’t taken their names out of the mix when it comes to potential Senate bids and who reported lackluster hauls:

Full story

March 4, 2013

Nebraska: Bruning Won’t Seek Open Senate Seat

Nebraska: Bruning Wont Seek Open Senate Seat

Bruning won't run for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, one of several Republicans considered potential candidates for the state’s open Senate seat, will forgo a bid for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat.

Bruning said he will seek re-election next year and described a Senate campaign as “extremely unlikely,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Several Republicans continue to mull bids for this GOP-held Senate seat including, most notably, Gov. Dave Heineman, who earlier expressed interest in running but has not announced a decision yet. Full story

February 25, 2013

Nebraska: State Auditor Considers National Campaign

Republican state Auditor Mike Foley announced last week that he is considering a number of options for his political future.

He is currently mulling runs for the Senate, governor’s office, the House or another term as state auditor.

“All those options are being discussed and prayed about and thought about,” he told Nebraska Radio Network.

A House seat would open up if Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry decides to run for the Senate. Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost Senate bids in 2012; Republican Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; businessman Pete Ricketts; and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.

This is an open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns; CQ Roll Call rates it as Safe Republican.

February 20, 2013

Nebraska: Senate Conservatives Fund Warns Against Fortenberry Bid

Nebraska: Senate Conservatives Fund Warns Against Fortenberry Bid

The Senate Conservatives Fund will not support Fortenberry if he runs for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An influential conservative group has warned its members about a potential Senate bid from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.

The Senate Conservatives Fund declared, “BEWARE OF FORTENBERRY,” in a Wednesday email.

“Congressman Fortenberry has a big-spending voting record in the House of Representatives and is not the kind of fiscal conservative we need in the U.S. Senate,” the group’s executive director, Matt Hoskins, wrote in the email. “In fact, he received a dismal 51% rating in the latest Heritage Action for America scorecard.”

Fortenberry already publicly acknowledged his interest in running for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat. But Nebraska Republicans are waiting for Gov. Dave Heineman to make a decision about the seat. They say the governor would clear the field if he ran for Johanns’ seat.

In the meantime, ambitious Republicans are making preparations if Heineman does not run. The race could pit more establishment-backed Republicans against grass-roots-supported, more conservative candidates.

“It’s going to be the Wild West if the governor decides not to run,”said Jordan McGrain, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.

Full story

Nebraska: Former State Treasurer Osborn Interested in Senate Run

Nebraska: Former State Treasurer Osborn Interested in Senate Run

Johanns will retire in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Nebraska state Treasurer Shane Osborn, a decorated naval aviator, said he is “undoubtedly interested” in running for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns.

In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, Osborn said he has received many encouraging calls to run since Johanns shocked Nebraska Republicans with his retirement announcement Monday.

Republicans see Gov. Dave Heineman as their most formidable candidate for Johanns’ seat, and many potentials candidates are waiting for him to decide before they make a move on the race. A spokeswoman for Heineman told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday email, “The Governor is taking a very serious look at it.”

Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost bids for Senate in 2012; plus the state’s three House members, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; and businessman Pete Ricketts.

Fortenberry already acknowledged his interest in the race.

Osborn became famous in 2001 when, as a naval aviator, a plane he piloted collided with a Chinese plane in international waters.

CQ Roll Call rates this as a Safe Republican seat.

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