Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Osborn vs. Nelson After All?

by Kyle Michaelis
After Representative Tom Osborne dashed the hopes of the Nebraska Republican Party by refraining from challenging Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in 2006, instead challenging Republican gubernatorial stand-in Dave Heineman, Nelson's chances of re-election undoubtedly improved. Yet, Republicans may still get the match up they hoped for, at least phonetically.

Today came word that Shane Osborn (no relation and minus the -e, not to mention 37 years), a Nebraska semi-celebrity for his brave service in the 2001 shooting down by the Chinese military of a U.S. spy plane he was piloting, is considering joining the recently-expanded three-man race for the Republican Senate nomination.

According to Osborn, the main factor that might prevent him from running is money, an understandable concern with a candidate such as Peter Ricketts in the fold who has an estimated worth of more than 200 million dollars (which he contends is closer to $25 million). At 31 years-old and discharged from the Navy less than a year ago, Osborn's work as an insurance broker in Omaha is yet too have paid off so handsomely.

Word of Osborn's interest in running for public office has been in the papers ever since the Norfolk-native's name made headlines following the China incident. Someone somewhere in the Republican Party has been advancing this kid for big things in the future, and it seems Osborn's bought into the notion in full if he's talking running for the U.S. Senate right out of the gate.

But honestly, I would guess it's not going to happen. This seems to be more a case of Osborn keeping his name in the papers with speculation that he might run just so people will still remember him when he finally takes that plunge. Having not yet formed a campaign committee or even started raising funds, it would seem pretty foolish for the young Osborn to try and throw a campaign together from scratch, running on media exposure alone, when he has a lot of years ahead of him to do this thing right. Don't you think?

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe this is more than a publicity-grab. Just don't count on it. Surely, Osborn's handlers understand they may only get one chance to convert his military honors into electoral capital (aka VOTES). I can't see them taking these long odds when a surer bet is probably right around the corner.


Anonymous Mr. Wilson said...

No offense to Mr. Osborn, but we have enough celebrity representation in Congress with Mr. Osborne. Two celebrity major elected officials is a bit too much for such a small state, IMHO.


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