checks in with the 3rd Congressional District's 2006 Democratic
nominee, Scott Kleeb
, giving little clue
to his current plans but proving his continued commitment to public service and
to the people of Nebraska:
Democrat Scott Kleeb has been hitting up supporters for campaign
contributions this summer, but he hasn't made up his mind to run for public
office again. "It's more of a declaration to supporters from last year that
I'm still engaged," Kleeb said of his fundraising e-mails and letters.
He said he is staying in touch "to let people know I didn't do what a lot
of people expected me to, which was to pick up and move out of state."
Kleeb gained national attention in his losing bid last year against Adrian
Smith in Nebraska's heavily Republican 3rd Congressional District...Smith, who
won by 10 percentage points, depicted Kleeb as a carpetbagger. Kleeb grew up on
military bases overseas and attended college in Colorado and at Yale University.
He and his wife now live in Hastings.
Kleeb's campaign committee reported about $70,000 cash on hand as of June 30
and no debt. Kleeb could opt for a rematch with Smith, run for the U.S. Senate
or none of the above.
Much is unclear about how the Senate field will shape up. Incumbent
Republican Chuck Hagel has yet to announce whether he will seek re-election.
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, both Democrats, are possible
contenders if Hagel retires.
Regardless of which race he considers getting into, Kleeb said, he needs
to make a decision by midfall. In the meantime, he is teaching at Hastings
College and working on a project to encourage community service among students.
Kleeb also is trying to promote the development of alternative energy sources
and helping a Nebraska ranch market its beef
It's good to see the World-Herald hasn't
forgotten about Kleeb, whom they endorsed
in 2006 praising his intellect, his eloquence, and his ability
to "provide common ground across partisan and ideological lines."
of course, we can't forget the World-Herald's criticism of Smith for his lack of
skills, his poor reputation, and his inability to lead.
No doubt, there's still a lot of excitement about Kleeb and supporters who
are still very much onboard should he run for office again in 2008. But, the
natural urge to strike while the iron is hot and tap into that base while it is
still very hungry has to be balanced against practical considerations. Smith's
incumbency. The sheer size of Republicans' registration advantage in the 3rd
District. The added difficulty of running alongside a Democratic Presidential
ticket. Not to mention, well-founded concerns about establishing a reputation
for losing elections.
Kleeb has what it takes. I know I'm not alone in being excited about his
potential and his future in Nebraska politics. But, he's also a young man who
can probably afford to think about things a little more long-term. Only he and
his family can know when the time is right for them. On the other hand, Kleeb
has to be mindful so the opportunity to win and to serve doesn't pass him by.
It sounds like we can expect Kleeb to announce his intentions within the next
few months. That puts him in pretty good company amongst potential 2008
candidates for Congress and the U.S. Senate who should be giving us a clearer
picture of next year's races soon after Hagel decides on his next course of
action (supposedly before Labor Day
I'll refrain from offering any further speculation about Kleeb in 2008 and
beyond. But, readers are encouraged to partake in our new poll
some say of their own. And, as always, please comment freely. You never know
who might be reading.
Labels: Adrian Smith, DEMS, NE-03, NE-Sen, Scott Kleeb
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