The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

None of These GOP Incumbents Expect a ‘Cornhusker Kick-to-the-Curb’


Today is also the filing deadline for federal office in Nebraska. Neither Senate seat is up this year, although obviously Ben Nelson is already sweating his reelection bid in 2012. There is a governor’s race this year, matching incumbent Republican Dave Heineman against . . . Mark Lakers, an Omaha investment banker and political unknown. Before you laugh, note that Nebraska Democrats are just happy to have somebody; his arrival “ended months of speculation about whether Democrats would field a candidate to challenge the GOP heavyweight.”

Give the Democrats credit; they have found challengers for all three House seats, and one them is sorta-kinda almost serious. In the 1st district, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will take on either Jessica Lynn Turek or Stanley E. Krauter, and who knows, either one of them might get a campaign website someday. (UPDATE: Ivy Harper, an author and Hill staffer, is also running, but she’s not currently listed as a candidate with the secretary of state.)

In the 3rd district, Rebekah Davis qualifies as the most likely Democratic candidate, as she has actually raised money ($15,931); she’ll seek to unseat Rep. Adrian Smith. Money isn’t anything, but the GOP incumbent has raised roughly 28 times as much so far.

The 2nd district qualifies as a competitive race in this state; Obama actually carried the district and its electoral vote, 50 percent to 49 percent. In 2008, Republican Lee Terry won by 4 percent, and his most likely challenger has both experience in government and six-figure fund-raising, state senator Tom White. Terry has raised twice as much, and should still be favored in this R+6 district.

UPDATE: Perhaps I should emphasize that when I say Terry’s race will be relatively competitive, I mean really relatively. An Omaha reader weighs in:

The Nebraska Second is NOT a competitive race.  First of all, the Democrat brand is currently dead in Nebraska.  Thank you, Ben Nelson, thank you, Omaha mayor/cranky-old-man Jim Suttle, thank you Nancy Pelosi.  Second, Obama’s superb campaign organization won the NE-2 but was not able to carry their guy across the finish line.  As we have seen in races around the rest of the country, Obama’s organization was a one-hit-wonder.  Will it be around in 2012?  Maybe, but it won’t be operative in 2010.  Third, Lee Terry is a decent enough Congressman. Fourth, Tom White is [what Mr. Bumble called the law].  Nobody likes him in the legislature.  He is currently ticking off the local Democrats by trying to knock down a double taxation issue that is worth millions of dollars to Omaha.  He is also one of the lead idiots in the Safe Haven law that made Nebraska the laughingstock of the nation.  I happen to agree with him on the double taxation issue, but I think the issue is technical enough that it won’t help him with most Independents.  I think Lee Terry wins by 10 this year.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson


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