Midland University President Ben Sasse officially kicked off his campaign for United States Senate in his hometown of Fremont; at the elementary school he attended, in fact.
Sasse, a Republican, will use the reputation gained through rebuilding Midland University and his experience as Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush in the race to succeed Sen. Mike Johanns.
The decision of Johanns, a Republican, to not run for re-election has prompted several Republicans to enter the race.
Sasse isn’t fazed by the crowded Republican field.
“We’re not going to spend time in our campaign differentiating ourselves from the other candidates much. We want to talk about what America is, what American greatness can be again,” Sasse told Nebraska Radio Network.
Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay, and Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale have also announced their candidacy.
Sasse emphasized his conservative philosophy and how it contrasts that of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, during his speech to those who gathered on the parking lot outside Trinity Lutheran Elementary School, located on the outskirts of Fremont.
Sasse is especially critical of how the philosophy of Obama unfolded in the form of the federal health care law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Sasse positions himself as the anti-Obamacare candidate.
He might be a political newcomer, but Sasse has already used both his connections in Nebraska as well as in Washington to post impressive campaign fundraising numbers. Sasse raised three-quarters of a million dollars in his first quarter of fundraising, a record previously held by Johanns who raised just over half a million dollars during one quarter in 2007.
That will help Sasse overcome one of the biggest obstacles he faces in this race: name recognition.
“I’m not a politician, so I’ve never done this before, but as we go out and tell people our story and our vision for America, it seems to be resonating with them,” Sasse says.
Sasse headed out on a statewide tour after making the announcement in Fremont.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Midland University President Ben Sasse officially kicks off his campaign for United States Senate. [21 minutes]