Sunday, May 01, 2005

Osborne vs. Heineman vs. ????

by Kyle Michaelis
It's official. He's running. The OWH reports:
Tom Osborne said he jumped into the governor's race Saturday with a desire to solve the state's most pressing problems - not to divide his fellow Republicans by challenging a sitting governor.

The legendary former Cornhusker football coach and three-term congressman said he hopes to combat the depopulation of rural Nebraska, improve economic opportunities and offer reasons for young people to stay in the state.

To work on that agenda, he likely will have to win a GOP primary next May against Gov. Dave Heineman, who already has the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Omaha businessman Dave Nabity also is running.

Asked whether he was concerned about causing divisions within the party, Osborne replied, "The only thing I have concerns about is if I'm not being true to myself. I would not be true to myself if I sat on the sidelines and thinking I may make a contribution."
With the odds posted below, someone could have made some money off this. Just goes to show how stupid gambling is. Of course, that won't stop many from assuming Osborne's the front-runner to be the next governor of Nebraska.

The unelected incumbent Heineman may have something to say about that, but there's rarely much to be gained going up against a beloved legend, even one past his prime and outside his field of expertise. Hopefully, a legitimate Democrat will also rise up to the challenge.
James Johnson, a University of Nebraska at Omaha political science professor said that while many would consider Osborne an overwhelming favorite, that theory could be tested.

"While we think of Osborne as essentially 'God' in Nebraska, we'll see how far that goes," he said. "The primary will be interesting."

Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said the party is actively recruiting a candidate for governor.

Rubin tipped his hat to Osborne, however, calling him clearly the front-runner in both the primary and general elections. "Anyone who claims otherwise has no credibility," he said.
I agree with the thinking that this is not a loss-loss situation for the Democratic Party. A Democrat who runs a strong, respectful campaign against Osborne could make a heck of an impression and gain almost unparalleled media exposure a la David vs. Goliath. And, should Heineman emerges the winner against Osborne, it's going to prove costly in dollars and possibly in terms of his likability.

Meanwhile, the possibility of dividing Republicans is always a happy one. It may have already begun with Osborne calling his relationship with the Heineman-endorsing Chuck Hagel a tepid "okay." No matter the candidate's vows, there's the possibility of this thing getting ugly - very ugly - if they want it bad enough.

So, maybe the Democrats have only a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but it's a bigger snowball than one might think. And who knows what the forecast brings....


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