Nebraska Tea Party Candidate Thorn in Mitch McConnell’s Side

Ben SasseIn a competitive three-way race, Midland University President and Tea Party candidate Ben Sasse is the leader for the May 13 Republican Senate primary in Nebraska. The latest poll shows Sasse with 31% of the Republican vote, former state treasurer and current Chief Marketing Officer with Academy Securities Shane Osborn with 25% and Pinnacle Bank chairman Sid Dinsdale with 22%.

Sasse has the support of Tea Party favorites such as Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Mike Lee. He’s also been endorsed by the Club For Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, Nebraska Farm Bureau and FreedomWorks, which recently switched its support from Osborn to Sasse.

He’s also been attacked by Establishment Senator Mitch McConnell’s SuperPAC, the mis-named Freedom Pioneers. Last week, this PAC spent $100,000 for online ads and direct mail attacking Sasse for being “soft” on ObamaCare.

However, these ads seem to be backfiring as the Fremont Tribune took Osborn to task for these negative and less-than-truthful ads. The Tribune accused Osborn of taking Sasse’s comments about ObamaCare at a 2010 health care symposium out of context.

Mr. Sasse said that, “Republicans are not repealing this bill (ObamaCare),” and added that Congress has never repealed any entitlement and there weren’t enough votes in both houses of Congress to achieve this goal.

These attack ads seem to be a curious and petty use of political funds. Nebraska is a staunchly Republican state and the winner of the May 13 primary is a virtual lock to win in November. This is another example of how much Mitch McConnell hates Tea Party candidates and their supporters, which include former Senator Jim DeMint.

McConnell and DeMint have been at odds with each other dating back to when they were both Senators, and McConnell told the New York Times on March 8 what he thought about the Tea Party: “The goal is to deny (outside groups like the Tea Party) any Senate primary victories, cut into their fundraising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics.”

If Ben Sasse wins on May 13, McConnell will be denied his goal, and this win could provide momentum for other Tea Party candidates around the country.