Category Archives: Nebraska

Obama’s Anti-Kerry Strategy = Genius

In an interview with Politico‘s Ben Smith published this morning, Obama field director Steve Hildebrand vowed that their team would be spending a lot of time and money in Bush country this Fall. He named 14 red states, some of which were close in 2004 and some of which Kerry didn’t even consider, and he also vowed to give resources to down-ticket races in ruby red states like Bush’s Texas and Cheney‘s Wyoming.

The move is genius.

A big reason why Kerry lost is because he had tunnel vision and couldn’t see beyond a handful of competitive swing states in the Midwest, a failed strategy for several reasons: First, it oversaturates the target voters; secondly, it discourages friendly voters in unfriendly states (in this case Dems in red states) from getting involved; and thirdly and most importantly, it sends a very poor signal to the electorate in neglected states (in Kerry’s case the Heartland and South).

When a candidate puts all his chips on one hand, half of the time he’s going to end up felted.

Of course, resources are always an issue and something Kerry didn’t have in abundance. But as Smith notes in the Politico article, “Hilebrand’s plans underscore the unusual scope and ambition of Obama’s campaign, which can relatively cheaply extend its massive volunteer and technological resources into states which won’t necessarily produce electoral votes.”

And the ROI could be substantial. As Hokie fan Daivd “Mudcat” Saunders points out this week in the brilliant Weekly Standard cover piece “When Bubba Meets Obama,” when Dems pick off a Republican voter, it’s a “twofer” — one for Obama, and one less for McCain. Instead, Mudcat says, Dems often fall into the habit of “hunting squirrels they’ve already killed” (more on this story later).

Mudcat will probably be happy to know that the campaign has promised to contest 14 states that Bush carried in ’04 — “The closest four, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, [Hildebrand] said, would see ‘a ton of attention.'” The campaign also plans to fight for Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Alaska. Hildebrand also said they’d be spending a lot of time in New Hampshire, and in my personal favorite: Nebraska’s 2nd District.

I think it’s a smart move, and one that will certainly give The Electoral Map a lot to talk about in upcoming months.

Omaha Could Break the 269-269 Tie

The Omaha World-Herald predicts that Nebraska’s biggest city could be seeing a lot of John McCain and Barack Obama this Fall. Why? Three reasons: First, money — McCain is swinging through for fundraiser in July and Obama has been endorsed by Omaha’s own Warren Buffett. Secondly, Omaha is a key market for reaching voters across the Missouri River in western Iowa.

But thirdly, and most interestingly, Nebraska is one of two states (Maine is the other) that split electoral votes by congressional district. Candidates get one EV for each district that they win and two for winning the state. In past elections, Republicans have swept all five EV’s, but Obama could possibly win Nebraska’s 2nd District, where Omaha is located. It’s an urban population and is growing rather quickly, if quietly.

Sure it’s just one electoral vote in a vault of 538, but imagine this scenario: Obama flips Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico to the Democratic column and McCain wins back New Hampshire. All other states remain constant from the 2004 election, putting the score at 269-269. The tiebreaker? Either the House or Nebraska’s 2nd District.

Here’s a possible scenario of a 269-269 tie, brought to you by 270toWin.com

Electoral College Tie at 269 Votes

Would Obama Contest Nebraska?

Nebraska is one of two state where Electoral College votes are allocated based on who wins congressional district s(the other is Maine).  The candidate who wins each districts get a vote, and whoever wins the state as a whole gets two additional votes.  So could Obama make a run at any of these congressional districts and pick off a vote or two?

A SurveyUSA poll released in February found that Obama would eclipse John McCain 44-42% in the 1st District (Lincoln) and the edge McCain 45-43% in the 2nd District (Omaha). Before I interpret these findings, it’s important to note that SurveyUSA isn’t the most well-respected polling outfit out there because of their robo-calling techniques.

But still, the results do indicate that Obama should at least give it a shot.  Former popular Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) is a supporter and even Omaha’s favorite billionaire Warren Buffett has praised Obama.  On top of that, Obama will lilkey inundate the Omaha media market with ads as he tries to reach western Iowa voters right across the Mississippi River.

So why not make a run at NE-02?   Omaha is the largest city on the Great Plains north of Kansas City and west of Minneapolis and has been “quietly booming, with new affluent neighborhoods,” according to the handy Almanac of American Politics.   And NE-01, for its part, is home to the University of Nebraska, which surely has more than a few Obama fans.

Nebraska Congressional Districts

Nebraska 1st Congressional District

Nebraska 1st Congressional District

Nebraska 2nd Congressional District

Nebraska 2nd Congressional District