Super PAC with McConnell Ties Attacking Nebraska Tea Party Candidate Ben Sasse
4:01 PM, May 5, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
This on-the-ground reality is at odds with the fact that the Freedom Pioneers super PAC is attacking Sasse from the right. Specifically, the attack ads claim Sasse, a former assistant secretary of Health and Human Services and acknowledged health care policy expert, is insufficiently anti-Obamacare, despite making the repeal of Obamacare the dominant theme of his campaign. Sasse has also been endorsed by Tea Party favorites Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who have at times rubbed McConnell the wrong way in the Senate. As a potential Senate majority leader next year, McConnell's primary reason for attacking Sasse might be that he wants fewer independent conservatives and more pliable moderates in the Senate.
Even so, it seems extremely questionable if the Senate minority leader is wading into an open Senate primary and wasting resources making factually dubious attacks on a well-qualified conservative candidate who's leading in the polls. Whoever wins Nebraska's GOP primary is a lock in November. Why not spend that money being used to attack Sasse on a GOP candidate that could use the resources to help pick up an additional senate seat? Send the checks to North Carolina, Michigan, Alaska, Louisiana, Colorado, or anywhere there's a genuine opportunity to pick-up a new senate seat. Heck, Brasell could use that money in Arkansas where Tom Cotton, a very worthy GOP candidate, is still trailing slightly in recent polls. If McConnell doesn't like Tea Party intransigence now, alienating conservative voters with unnecessary and heavy-handed intrusions into primary elections seems likely to foment even more intraparty disputes in the future.
In any event, pro-Sasse groups are already playing offense. They're planning to make at least $250,000 ad buys this week ahead of next Tuesday's primary to mute the impact of more attacks from the Freedom Pioneers PAC.
UPDATE: McConnell's campaign has issued statement asserting they are standing on the sidelines in Nebraska and have nothing to do with his former campaign manager's super PAC attacks on Sasse. "As our campaign has previously made clear, Sen. McConnell has not endorsed in Nebraska's Senate race and has absolutely no association with efforts on behalf of any candidates in the race," said McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore.
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