Lost in the stories of Tuesday’s tight races was the best race Republicans ran: Hoeven for Senate. In the words of Sun Tzu, “Every battle is won before it is fought.” The best way to win a Senate race is to win it long before Election Day. With Jon Bruning’s announcement today, we have the opportunity to line up a Senate pick-up without the nuisance and chance of a campaign.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a bid to take on Sen. Ben Nelson. Nelson, you will recall, was going to join Republicans in filibustering the health care bill until he received the Cornhusker Kickback, giving Nebraska 100% funding for Medicaid expansion. By contrast, AG Bruning was among fourteen Attorneys General to sue the federal government over the constitutionality of the bill. He has also been a leader in fighting against Medicare fraud.
His top priority as Attorney General was the protection of children. In 2004, Bruning was a leader in pushing for legislation targeting online sex offenders, making it a crime to lure children online. He also worked with legislators to enact new laws offering civil remedies to the victims of child pornography.
During his time as a state Senator, Bruning was a leader for pro-life causes. He has had the backing of Nebraska Right to Life in every election for which he has stood. He earned that endorsement not only by supporting pro-life legislation, but by actually sponsoring it. As AG, he helped draft the Abortion Pain Prevention Act, and testified in support of legislation that created civil penalties for causing the death of an unborn child.
Prior to Sen. Chuck Hagel’s retirement, Bruning had announced his campaign for Senate back in 2007. He would have received the backing of the Club for Growth had it not been for the entry of then-Gov. Mike Johanns, whose record the Club also liked. If elected, Bruning will be a strong voice for a smaller federal government.
Although other Republicans are eying the race, the highly popular Bruning, who has been unopposed in his last two bids for Attorney General, is likely the strongest candidate now that Gov. Heineman has taken himself out of consideration. Rather than waiting until later in the campaign season, perhaps after Sen. Nelson has made up his decision, now is the best time to make a contribution to Jon Bruning. As EMILY’s (Early Money Is Like Yeast) List knows, early contributions weigh more heavily than late ones, as they can both build momentum and scare away opponents. If we show strong support for Bruning now, there’s a great chance that we can scare Nelson into retirement and chalk up an early ’12 victory without having to fight the battle.