Ben Sasse Cruises to a GOP Primary Win

by Jim Geraghty

From the midweek Morning Jolt:

Ben Sasse Cruises to a GOP Primary Win; Technical Formality of General Election Will Be Held in November

Hey, remember everything I said about the risk Republicans take by nominating Sid Dinsdale to be their Senate nominee in Nebraska?

Yeah, never mind. By 10 p.m. Tuesday night, the Associated Press called the primary for Ben Sasse. This morning we see Sasse won nearly 50 percent in a four-way race. As the Hotline’s Josh Kraushaar noted, after Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and now Sasse, National Review has the reverse Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

This morning you’re seeing some folks celebrating this result as a win for the Tea Party over the Establishment, and while that’s not quite wrong, the usual lines were a little blurred. Sasse went to Harvard, Oxford and Yale; already worked on Capitol Hill; and President Bush appointed him as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

His first prominent rival, Shane Osborn, had a distinguished military record; he was the pilot on that plane that the Chinese forced down at the beginning of the Bush administration. Osborn probably immolated himself by going negative and delivering the negative message personally.

Dinsdale was the wealthy banker running as the outsider, but his bank had helped nudge Ben Nelson to support Dodd-Frank. Maybe not the worst sin for a GOP candidate, but a reason to be wary of the guy who’s touting himself as a pragmatist who can reach a deal.

Sasse’s win is good news for conservatives and it’s very good news for National Review. Sasse ran ads featuring the NR cover early to establish his conservative bona fides. Besides being a heavy favorite in November, Sasse is very much a health-policy wonk, who will have something to say on Obamacare beyond “repeal it, it stinks.”