Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 28, 2014

Posts in "Nebraska"

July 21, 2014

Rating Change: Nebraska’s 2nd District

terry 176 072312 445x296 Rating Change: Nebraska’s 2nd District

Lee Terry is a Nebraska Republican. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., has a history of making races closer than they need to be — and 2014 appears to be no different.

Even though midterm turnout in Nebraska’s 2nd District should benefit the Republican, his inability to boost his own numbers and the potential that two third party candidates will make the November ballot raise questions about the Republican’s electoral health. Full story

May 14, 2014

Ben Sasse, Mystery Man

sasse001 020714 445x300 Ben Sasse, Mystery Man

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I am not at all certain who or what Ben Sasse is. I interviewed him in February, and heard him speak to a large, sympathetic group not long after that. And, of course, I’ve seen him interviewed by others. But I still don’t have a handle on what kind of senator he will be.

In that regard, at least, the Nebraska GOP Senate nominee is very different from Sen. Ted Cruz. After talking with Cruz a couple of times when he was still seeking the GOP nomination last cycle, I understood the Texan’s philosophy and his approach to politics in general and the legislative process in particular.

“Cruz is not willing to compromise even if it means being irrelevant to the legislative process,” I wrote in a July 31, 2012, Roll Call column, adding, “If elected, Cruz certainly will join the GOP’s ‘Uncompromising Caucus,’ which includes [then-South Carolina Sen. Jim] DeMint, [Utah Sen. Mike] Lee, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a handful of others, making it more difficult for his party’s leadership …”

But Sasse (pronounced “sass”) seems to have been able to be all things to all people during his Senate bid this year. That means he’s a skilled politician, but it could also mean that some Republicans will feel terribly misled after seeing him in action in the Senate. Full story

January 24, 2014

Ratings Change: Nebraska’s 2nd District

Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry has a knack for making races closer than they need to be, but it will be tough for the Republican congressman to lose to no one.

Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen was the poster child for national Democratic efforts to get candidates into races in the wake of the government shutdown. On the ground, Festersen was considered a very legitimate threat to Terry and was viewed as the type of Democrat who could win Nebraska’s 2nd District.

Two months later, Festersen dropped out.

Democrats would love to get another candidate into the race (they have until March 3), but after hyping up Festersen so much, it will be difficult for them to make the case that the next candidate they find is just as good.

We’re moving Nebraska’s 2nd District to Republican Favored from Lean Republican in the Rothenberg Political Report/CQ Roll Call ratings. The move is in spite of Terry’s campaign, which couldn’t even spell his campaign pollster’s name correctly in a news release.

November 14, 2013

Ratings Change: Nebraska’s 2nd District

terry 173 072312 445x296 Ratings Change: Nebraskas 2nd District

Democrats think Terry is vulnerable. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After seven unsuccessful attempts, Democrats believe 2014 will finally be the year they knock off Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.

The congressman does have a knack for making his re-election races in the 2nd District more difficult than they need to be. And Democrats are ecstatic about their recruit, Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen. But it remains to be seen whether Democrats missed their window of opportunity.

Terry garnered just 51.2 and 51.9 percent in his last two re-elections in presidential years. In 2008, he narrowly won as Barack Obama carried the Omaha-based district and earned an electoral vote because of the state’s allocation system. But Terry’s lowest winning percentage in a midterm election was 54.7 percent in 2006 — a great Democratic year. Full story

September 20, 2013

House Strategists Continue Search for 2014 Candidates

My colleague Kyle Trygstad nearly declared the end to the Senate recruitment season recently, but House strategists on both sides of the aisle still have their work cut out for them.

With a little more than a year before Election Day, Republican and Democratic operatives are searching for quality candidates in more than a handful of districts. Both sides want as many offensive opportunities as possible to keep the other side pinned down in their own territory.

Down 17 seats, Democrats need more GOP takeover opportunities to make up for any losses and so they don’t have to win all of the competitive seats to get back to the majority next November. Full story

July 12, 2013

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Plains States

The Hawkeye State dominates the list of competitive races in the Plains. After the region hosted the high-profile North Dakota and Missouri Senate races in 2012, its trio of Senate races this cycle are likely to see action in the primaries — but not in November.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Plains states:

South Dakota Senate. Gov. Mike Rounds is the front-runner for the GOP nomination and the general election. His new primary challenger, state Sen. Larry Rhoden, does not fundamentally change the race, even if he runs as a conservative alternative to Rounds. Meanwhile, former House candidate Rick Weiland is running on the Democratic side, but his own party’s leadership is openly unhappy with their prospects if he is the nominee. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Republican. Full story

June 7, 2013

Where Will the Millionaire Cattle Rancher Run in Nebraska?

A cattle rancher and a university president get into a Senate race. Sounds like the opening of a bad joke, but it could describe the new political terrain in Nebraska.

Now that GOP Gov. Dave Heineman has declined to run to replace retiring Sen. Mike Johanns, a handful of Republicans are weighing their options for a seat that should stay in GOP hands. Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn didn’t waste any time announcing his candidacy, but he won’t have the field all to himself. Wealthy former state party chairman/2006 nominee Pete Ricketts will apparently decide on a bid within the next month.

According to Leavenworth Street, a conservative blog in Nebraska, millionaire cattle rancher Charles Herbster is a potential candidate for Senate or governor. Herbster — not to be confused with Jeffster! (see video below) — owns Herbster Angus Farms and Conklin, and has personal money and inroads in the evangelical Christian community that could boost his candidacy (via Nebraska Politics in Stereo).

Full story

May 28, 2013

Nebraska Senate: Osborn Likely to Announce Candidacy Soon

ValuesVoter006 091412 445x296 Nebraska Senate: Osborn Likely to Announce Candidacy Soon

Republicans are also waiting to see if Fortenberry runs for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn is likely to announce his candidacy for the Senate within the next few days, according to usually reliable GOP insiders.

While in the Navy, Osborn was detained by the Chinese in 2001 after the plane he was piloting was forced to land following a collision with a Chinese fighter jet. Osborn was elected state treasurer in 2006, but did not seek re-election in 2010. He was involved in a messy divorce. Full story

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