Monday, September 03, 2007

The Marquee Senate Race of 2008?

by Kyle Michaelis
By: Dave Sund

The table is set. Labor Day is upon us, and a number of political deadlines are approaching. Decisions ready to be made. Political heavyweights ready to enter the arena, and some apparently ready to exit.

I've devoted quite a bit of virtual ink to this race, repeating myself dozens of times, going over every single sign, detail, rumor, or press account to get a better picture of what I believe is the most important race in Nebraska - for Nebraska - in 2008. The evolution of this race - from the initial rumors of Hagel's retirement, to Mike Fahey's potential entry into the race, Hagel's March "announcement," and Bruning's primary challenge, followed by Kerrey's interest in a potential candidacy, has been one of the most fascinating stories of this young election cycle.

In Don Walton's article in the Lincoln Journal Star today, this quote stands out:

If it's ultimately Kerrey versus Johanns after 2008 primary voters have spoken and all the smoke has cleared, Nebraska may play host to next year's premier Senate race. So say Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray in The Washington Post. "A Kerrey-Johanns matchup would be the early front-runner for the marquee race of the 2008 cycle," they wrote last week.
We wait in anticipation for Kerrey's decision.
The right-wing blog Leavenworth Street reports a few rumors of note, including this one:

The word on the Street is that Mike Johanns has hired a campaign manager.
Which would be interesting to say the least, because there's at least two things in that sentence that have Mike Johanns directly violating the Hatch Act. Maybe the rumormongers want to back off a bit before they get their preferred candidate into trouble with the law? Oh, wait, that's right, the Justice Department doesn't prosecute Republicans - especially members of the Bush administration. Speaking of Republicans having total disregard for campaign law, there's Jon Bruning, who placed an ad in the Omaha World-Herald on Thursday. Okay, you say, so what's the problem? It was paid for by Jon Bruning for Attorney General. The NDP blog explains the rest:

This ad was financed with soft money - money collected without adhering to the rigorous standards required by the FEC in federal elections. State-level and lower candidates use only soft money for their campaigns. The problem is that Mr. Bruning has announced - three times, no less - that he's running for a federal office. And I think even a lawyer as practiced as Jon Bruning would be hard-pressed to convince Nebraskans that this ad is not intended to help his numbers in his bid for Senate.
Then, of course, there's Pat Flynn, the fringe candidate who, in his campaign announcement, decided it was a good idea to get out in front of the story:

Pat has not always led an exemplary life. He had some encounters with the law regarding alcohol and marijuana when he was in his twenties. Thankfully, the law won these battles and today these experiences are looked upon as an asset because of the life-change that occurred. With the help of God, a recovery program and the love of friends and family, Pat's life has changed and he has been able to help effect change in other's lives because of this experience. Pat is not proud of this part of his past but has taken full responsibility for his actions and understands well the concerns and challenges of many others who are dealing with these issues in their own lives.
Here's guessing that Flynn's candidacy is already "up in smoke."

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