12:24 PM, May 12, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The New York Times is up with a story today, "Tea Party Activists See Own Groups Among Washington Adversaries," about the supposed tension between national Tea Party groups and local Tea Party activists. The lede of the piece involves an anecdote -- and I use that term loosely, as it seems to bear little relationship to reality -- about the Nebraska Senate race:
The still-emerging Tea Party movement is not merely waging war against the Republican establishment this year. Some of its more heated disputes are coming from within.
That struggle is playing out vividly in Nebraska, which will hold a Republican Senate primary on Tuesday between former State Treasurer Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse, the president of Midland University. Mr. Osborn, who has the support of activists in the state, secured a major endorsement last November from FreedomWorks, the organization that helped vault the Tea Party to prominence.
Mr. Osborn, the group said, stood “with the grass-roots uprising before it was cool.” But in March, FreedomWorks rescinded its support of Osborn and backed Sasse.
Ever since, Nebraska’s Tea Party members have been battling national Tea Party donor groups. “We are not million dollar Washington, D.C., special interest groups with strong ties to Capitol Hill.
We are simply Nebraskans who are fed up,” a group of 52 activists wrote in an open letter protesting FreedomWorks’ about-face, adding, “We were not consulted, polled, or contacted by these Washington, D.C., groups.”
Having covered this race extensively, this line ("Mr. Osborn, who has the support of activists in the state...") seems at best to be an overstatement by the Times, assuming it is referring to Tea Party activists. (I would also note that the Osborn campaign has had trouble when it comes to overstating the extent of their endorsements.) There were a number of major Tea Party endorsements in the race that were in play besides FreedomWorks, many of which both Sasse and Osborn vied for. And yes, a tally of these endorsements would suggest that Sasse was the favorite of the Tea Party organizations, and Sasse has also been endorsed by national Tea Party leaders such as Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. In contrast, Osborn was being supported by a number of important figures closely alligned with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky senator vowed in March that he would "crush" Tea Party candidates, specifically candidates such as Sasse who were endorsed by Tea Party group Senate Conservatives Fund. And he made this announcement in the pages of the New York Times no less. Former McConnell chief of staff turned insurance lobbyist Billy Piper was helping raise money for Osborn, and in recent weeks a slew of dishonest, negative ads against Sasse were paid for by a PAC started by McConnell's former campaign manager. While it's possible for multiple candidates in a Republican primary to legitimately claim Tea Party support, that claim is a lot harder to make coming from a guy who's being backed by the powerful Republican establishment leader who has publicly vowed to crush Tea Party candidates.
5:04 PM, May 7, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Nebraska Senate candidate Shane Osborn seems to have made a habit of, one might say, overreaching during this campaign.
4:01 PM, May 5, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
With the Nebraska Republican Senate primary a week from tomorrow, outside money is flowing into the state to take down the race's frontrunner, Midland University president Ben Sasse. And the provenance of the money attacking Sasse is especially curious--a super PAC with strong ties to senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
9:34 AM, Apr 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Texas senator Ted Cruz has endorsed Ben Sasse in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Nebraska. From the Sasse campaign announcement:
“I have gotten to know Ben Sasse, and while Nebraskans have good choices, Ben is the strongest conservative voice running for United States Senate,” said Sen. Cruz. “Ben will not be just another vote in the Senate – he will be a leader in the fight to stop the Obama agenda and repeal ObamaCare from day one. We need strong reinforcements like him in the United States Senate.”
Poll shows Nebraska senate race is a dead heat. 9:19 AM, Apr 9, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse has been declared "Obamacare's Nebraska Nemesis," and in a new ad Sasse explains why he's personally invested in repealing the law. In 2007, his wife Melissa had an aneurysm followed by an arduous recovery, which left his family with $160,000 in medical bills. Sasse ended up waging a months-long battle against the health insurance system, and Sasse is convinced Obamacare will only make these problems worse:
5:19 PM, Mar 28, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In a surprising move, the influential Tea Party group FreedomWorks has withdrawn its endorsement of former Nebraska state treasurer Shane Osborn and is now endorsing former Bush administration official and Midland College president Ben Sasse in the GOP Senate primary. According to a statement from Freedomworks president Matt Kibbe:
10:12 AM, Mar 26, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Nebraska Senate Candidate Shane Osborn is a former Navy Lieutenant Commander who was flying a reconnaissance mission in April of 2001 when the EP-3 aircraft he was flying was struck by a Chinese fighter plane. Osborn managed to land the plane safely, but in Chinese territory. This sparked the first of many foreign policy crises during the Bush administration. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for courage and airmanship, and the Meritorious Service Medal for leadership as a result of the episode.
1:02 PM, Mar 23, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The Omaha World-Herald has two big stories up today that might impact the hotly contested Nebraska Republican Senate primary between former Bush administration official and Midland College president Ben Sasse and former state treasurer Shane Osborn.
11:25 AM, Mar 14, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
In the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, which went online early this morning, I have an article about the Nebraska Senate race. In a nutshell, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is trying to give a boost to one of the candidates due to some disagreements with outside conservative groups. This is problematic because there are two solid candidates in the race and it's an open primary -- and voters tend to resent meddling by the national party.
5:14 PM, Feb 5, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
There hasn't been a lot of polling in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary so far, though the four way contest to succeed retiring senator Mike Johanns has been heating up. Today, ConservativeIntel released its poll of Nebraska showing that Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse are in a dead heat:
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