September 21, 2014

GOP Senate candidate Sasse rejects frontrunner status

Ben Sasse

Ben Sasse

Republican Ben Sasse claims he’s running his campaign for United States Senate as if he is trailing in the polls.

But, he isn’t.

A smattering of public opinion polls have been taken of the campaign to succeed Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican who has decided to leave public office after the end of this term. Those polls indicate Sasse is up in the race against Democrat Dave Domina, and up big according to some polls.

The race received early attention when Republicans chose Sasse in a crowded primary field, favoring the Midland University president over former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale, and Omaha attorney Bart McLeay.

Sasse says he capitalized on his Republican primary win by traveling the state, listening to voters.

“We worked really hard in the primary,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We were blessed to ultimately win 92 of 93 Nebraska counties and I think that was a direct function of our listening tours and the way we pounded the pavement and listened to Nebraskans all across this state,”

Sasse claims he isn’t paying any attention to the polls, even those that give him a commanding lead in the race.

“Oh, I mean, we run like we’re behind,” Sasse replies when asked about the polls. “We want to listen to Nebraskans. I’m not a politician. I’ve never run for office before. I just believe in the American idea. I believe in the American dream and I believe in growing more opportunity for everybody and Nebraska values and the Nebraska work ethic need to be celebrated.”

The race also features two independent candidates: Jim Jenkins and Todd Watson.

Sasse says he welcomes them into the ring.

“I think there’s a great opportunity to unpack a lot of issues when you have more voices in the conversation,” Sasse says. “So, I’m glad that we have a diversity of opinions in these conversations and we’ve stood on the side of, for all the debates, all the candidates should be included. We should include more people and hope the civic engagement process of the voters of Nebraska is also enhanced by hearing more voices in the conversation.”