Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pete "Rock Bottom" Ricketts

by Kyle Michaelis
Republican Senate candidate Pete Ricketts has had no success winning the suppport of Nebraska voters. The most recent polling by Rasmussen Reports shows him losing in his challenge to Senator Ben Nelson by more than 20%. In fact, September's poll showed him losing to Nelson 55% to 32%, a repeat of Ricketts' pathetic August performance at a time when his campaign is most desperate for any sign of hope.

Well, I hate to break it to Ricketts, but the latest numbers don't just show a lack of improvement. They actually show his campaign taking a turn for the worse.

Two months ago, Pete Ricketts was viewed unfavorably by 50% of Nebraska voters - a disastrous result for any campaign. Last month, Ricketts was viewed unfavorably by 52% of Nebraska voters. Then, just when it seemed things had hit rock bottom, this month's numbers report that 54% of Nebraska voters don't like Pete Ricketts!

Ouch! Ricketts has spent almost $10 million of his family's billion dollar fortune on this campaign, and - with each check he writes himself, with each attack on Ben Nelson, with each month of endlessly annoying advertising, with each loss in a televised debate - another tens of thousands of Nebraskans are realizing not only do they have no intention of voting for Ricketts but they're just plain sick of him.

Considering that it's hard enough to beat an incumbent even when voters like you, this continued backwards slide suggests Ricketts has run one of the most fundamentally flawed campaigns imaginable. He clearly has no understanding of Nebraska's voters or their values as anything more than a campaign slogan for which he paid far too much money to strategists and advertising agencies.

Meanwhile, as Ricketts languishes and continues to gain disfavor with voters, Nelson maintains an approval rating greater than 70% (72%, to be exact).

Demonstrating a new degree of desperation sure to alienate even more voters - apparently hoping 60% of Nebraska dislikes him before Election Day - Ricketts has redirected his endless self-funded resources to a juvenile and amateurish negative attack ad damning Nelson for his failure to correct the property tax designation on his rural retreat and hunting cabin along the Platte River.

Nevermind that Ricketts is already known for stretching the law and the bounds of good taste to avoid paying his own property taxes. Ricketts only goal here is to make voters just as suspicious and distrustful of Nelson as they are of Ricketts himself. Just one problem - Nebraskans have known Nelson for more than 15 years and aren't going to be fooled by a silly little cartoon that might humor as an Internet distraction but, in the general public, makes a complete mockery of the democracy and the debate voters deserve from their candidates.

In fact, voters are sure to recognize how absurd it is for this advertisement to mention over and over that Nelson is a "millionaire", as if that should be held against him when Ricketts and his family are worth more than $2 billion. It is also plainly misleading to suggest, as the ad does, that Nelson was asked to pay $10,661 in back taxes and refused....when that request was nothing more than a political stunt by the chair of the Sarpy County Republican Party.

One also has to wonder what the Ricketts campaign was going for putting a gun in Nelson's hand and reminding voters that he is an avid hunter and gun enthusiast. This ad can only highlight Nelson's long-standing support and endorsement in the 2006 election by the National Rifle Association, a fact that isn't likely to cut into his popularity in Nebraska.

With so misguided a campaign, it's no wonder 54% of Nebraskans are fed-up with Pete Ricketts and just wish he'd go away. One would like to imagine he's reached rock bottom with numbers like that, but, as Ricketts' desperation grows, his continued attacks on the ever popular Nelson are likely to earn him even greater disdain and disfavor from voters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle -
Do you think Ricketts realizes ChuckHagel is using his checkbook for his personal vendetta against Ben Nelson?

Can you see Ricketts on eleciton night when he loses by 20 points after spending 12 million dollars? "I'm just a patsy". Patsy Pete.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a good analysis but your headline is off-base. I'm sure Ricketts will manage to sink even lower. In two weeks, this ad might be a paragon of positive campaigning.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know. I'm worried maybe those poll numbers aren't accurate and Ricketts is doing better than we think.

Sunday I was in South Omaha & downtown for the annual Omaha Marathon and I saw Ricketts signs everywhere and nary a one for Ben Nelson.

I just caught a short bit of the jib jab type campaign ad on TV tonight and I thought it was a Nelson ad. I thought the commentator said that after the ad ran everyone was requesting Ricketts signs because they were angry about it. They were making a big deal about it being a violent ad & Nelson was pointing his shotgun right at the pointing finger. Nothing was said about Nelson being a hunter.

I've been waiting for real dirt since Rove's arrival last Friday. He's the expert on dirt and driving home the sale.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the yard signs. I've only seen Ben Nelson ones and campaigns put them up for things like marathons or parades. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ricketts people put them up withour permission to look good for the parade.

As for polls, if Pete Ricketts had a poll showing him any closer than 20 points, he'd be releasing it like Smith and Fortenberry did. The fact that he hasn't tells me that his internal polls show the same thing as the public ones.

Anonymous BlueMonkey said...

"I thought the commentator said that after the ad ran everyone was requesting Ricketts signs because they were angry about it."

That's funny, the news this morning said exactly the opposite on WOWT. They said that people were going to the Nelson headquarters and requesting yard signs for Nelson because they've been pushed over the edge by this ad.

The report also had comments from the Sarpy assessor that the ad claims about Nelson and his taxes were bogus. They had on what's his name the former reporter current political consultant saying that people were angry about the gun use in the ad.

Don't know where the anonymous news world is, but it sure as hell isn't in Omaha.

BTW - Dick Scurvey, you're no Jib-Jab.

Thank goodness Ben is so proud of his record in working well with the preznit. His vote against the habeus corpus amendment this morning should help him out with that, too.

If you'll excuse me, I feel the need for a shower now. All this talk about Nelson and Ricketts has me feeling a little gamey.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should tell Pete Ricketts that children aren't allowed to vote...Maybe then he'll make some mature campaign ads directed at ADULTS that don't consist of Ben Nelson bashing cartoons with a sad version of "E-I-E-I-O". Ben Nelson gets my vote.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete states in his latest television ad that he spends many nights away from his family "talking to Nebraskans". What A sacrifice! Shame on him! There are many Nebraskans who spend countless nights away from their families, who are in Iraq, (and elsewhere) defending their country. I don't think there's much of a chance that a Nebraskan will kill Pete in the line of duty.
Has Pete ever served in the military? Don't touch that clicker! Pete won't get my vote. Ben Nelson isn't much better. The whole mud slinging campaign makes me sick!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this country is no good any more there are to many hypocrites out there and we need god in america again.at least pete ricketts believes in god and dont let people kill babies,like nelson.at least he stands for what he balieves instead of hiding or beating arround the bush like most people do to scared to stand for what they balieve in and at the same time bash the good one's that speak out against what they dont balieve in!!it is so funny that we get them elected and then turn our backs on them like who cares they are trying to do right by the nation who elected them.what does that say about americans.we aint no better than the one's that we are yelling about all the time like president bush he is trying to make this a safer place to live and all america wants to do is scream and holler about him and make fun of him.WELL HAVE ANY OF YOU ALL LOOKED IN THE MIRROR LATELY.WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE IN HIS SHOES.YOU DONT LIKE THE WAY HE RUNS THE WHOLE CROUNTRY THEN TRY TO RUN IT YOUR SELVES AND I BET YOU RUN INTO THE SAME PROBLEMS AS HE HAS.JUDGES,SENATE,CONGRESS.HE WANTS TO BAN GAY MARRIAGES SO LET HIM.I'M NOT GAY AND HAVE A SON THAT SAY'S TO ME ALL THE TIME DAD WHY ARE THOSE GIRLS KISSING OR WHY IS THOSE GUYS KISSING AND WHAT AM I SUPOSE TO TELL HIM.SHURE AINT GOING TO TELL HIM IT'S OKAY YOU CAN DO THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. AMERICA WAS FOUNDED ON THE GHOSPALS OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD ALL MIGHTY WHY WONT THE CHRISTIANS IN THIS WORLD START TO SPEAK OUT AND STOP BEING MISTREATED AND START TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND STOP SITTING ON THE BACK BURNER COMPLAINING ABOUT IT AND OPEN YOUR MOUTH SAY WE WANT GOD IN AMERICA AGAIN


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