Pete "Rock Bottom" Rickettsby Kyle Michaelis
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.