Republican Ben Sasse wins Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race
November 5th, 2014
Lincoln, NE – From the moment first results were released, there was no doubt that the gathering in a crowded downtown Lincoln reception hall was anything but a victory party for Ben Sasse.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/senate-1105.mp3]
The 42-year-old Republican easily won a spot in the U.S. Senate, taking the seat vacated by retiring Republican Mike Johanns.
Sasse said a competitive Republican primary helped him build a campaign structure, but that the key to victory was traveling the state.
“We had a great experience spending better than a year traveling to 93 counties and listening to Nebraskans, I really think our town halls were the key to this race,” Sasse said. “We got a chance to learn about every segment of Nebraska agri-business, and to really spend time, door-knocked in every county, all 93 over the course of this year. And Nebraskans are optimistic about the future of this country. They just don’t think Washington can centrally plan every detail. They want a Washington that focuses on the bigger things, and tries not to micromanage every detail.”
Sasse is a Fremont native who returned to his hometown five years ago to become president of Midland University, then quickly became a rising star among conservative Republicans. Earlier this year a front page cover on the conservative publication National Review called him “Obamacare’s Nebraska Nemesis.” A wave of support carried Sasse through the primary, and helped him earn significant financial backing from organizations like the Senate Conservatives Fund and groups connected with the so-called Tea Party, all told Sasse raised more than $6 million, a small amount compared to big money Senate races in other parts of the country, but four times more than the other three Nebraska candidates combined.
Add to that the growing voter registration gap between Republicans and Democrats in Nebraska and it was likely an uphill challenge from the beginning for Democrat Dave Domina, an Omaha attorney. He told supporters in Omaha that he will continue “educating” the people of Nebraska about issues he feels are important.
“Our new message needs to be that government needs to be by people. It cannot be by corporations,” Domina said. “So I want to make one thing clear; I am now an old and bald warrior. But I am still a warrior.”
Rounding out the field were two independent, non-partisan candidates: Jim Jenkins, a businessman and rancher from the Sandhills town of Callaway, and Todd Watson, an Lincoln businessman. While running more active campaigns than many recent independent or third-party candidates, neither were able to garner significant voter support…although Jenkins did better than any non-major candidate since 1982.
“I’d like to think we changed the debate a little bit, with our focus on the need to put the people’s interests ahead of sort of the party interests,” Jenkins said.
At his election night gathering, Sasse told supporters how he intends to serve in the U.S. Senate.
“First, I commit to be about the big challenges before us, for we do not have time for the small issues,” Sasse said. “Second, I commit to focus on our duties for the long term, not to be obsessed with short-term popularity. And third, we commit to celebrating the enduring American beliefs that unite us far more than the policy debates that sometimes divide us.
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