Tuesday, June 29, 2010

As goes Mark Lakers, so go Nebraska Democrats

From today's Omaha World-Herald
Mark Lakers, the Democratic candidate for Nebraska governor, has amended his campaign finance report to the state, removing $157,000 in pledges from 12 individuals and 10 companies or organizations. In all, he removed about one-third of the individual pledges his campaign had earlier reported to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.

As news reporting has shown, there's no question that in some cases Lakers listed people as pledging donations when in fact they had not done so. Some of those individuals have publicly expressed surprise at being listed as contributors.

As we've noted before, gubernatorial contests are important for a state. They give the opposition party the chance to set out an alternate policy vision. And they provide an all-important occasion for voters to weigh the pros and cons of an incumbent administration.

Lakers' handling of his campaign reporting, then, has undermined not only his own candidacy but also his own party's ability to make its case effectively for itself and against Gov. Dave Heineman.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Duane Acklie--An American Story

One week ago some 400 Nebraskans gathered at the Embassy Suites in LaVista to honor Duane Acklie.  Duane is a man of tremendous character, integrity and humility, and for this reason the Nebraska Republican Party saluted him.  The event was a tremendous success and may have set a new fundraising record for the NEGOP.

For those who don't know Duane, he was one of Nebraska's finest attorneys when he founded Crete Carrier Corporation and soon thereafter began serving as its President/CEO.  Duane and his lovely wife Phyl subsequently built Crete Carrier into one of the nation's largest trucking companies.  Duane has served our nation as President of the USO, Chairman of Sallie Mae, U.S. Senior Advisor to the United Nations. and as our National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee.   

I want to personally thank Duane and Phyl for all they have done for our state and our nation.  Duane has been a personal mentor of mine, and for that I am personally grateful.

Helping us honor Duane was Karl Rove, who did a great job expanding on the themes in his new book "Courage and Consequence."  Few Nebraskans realize that Rove ran Mrs. Haven Smith's successful initial bid for Congress (that's Congresswoman Virginia Smith for those not familiar with history).  He did an excellent job defining the differences between today's Democrats and Republicans and why the 2010 elections are so important. 

A great event for a great man.  Thanks Duane for allowing us to honor you and your service!

EPILOGUE:  On Saturday after the Salute to Duane Acklie I had the pleasure of taking Karl Rove to the Millard Airport.  When we arrived, an airplane crew stepped through the door and we asked, "Are you here for us?"  They kindly replied, "No, we're here for Senator Nelson."  Rove, being the consummate prankster, decided we need to make signs to hold up for Senator Ben Nelson's arrival.  So Rove grabbed a Sharpie and a couple of pieces of paper, writing "WELCOME BENATOR" on one (Sen. Nelson's moniker courtesy of President Bush) and "Have a Great CORNHUSKER day" on the other--a clear and intentional reference to Nelson's Cornhusker Kickback.  All good-natured ribbing by Rove.  By the time Rove's plane arrived and I left Senator Nelson had not yet arrived, but I'm confident he received these notes.  Sadly for him, these are not the only communications he will receive from me and those we work with over the next couple of years as we fight to return this Senate seat to hands of Nebraska voters.