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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 6, 2000)
Bush, Gore fighting for electoral college votes
hold hope for election night
PREDICTIONS from page 1
He said the revelation of
Bush's arrest for DUI in 1976
probably will have little effect,
unless it is shown Bush lied about
it But Bush’s misstatement that
Social Security was not a federal
program may have a greater
impact, Hibbing said.
Not surprisingly, Nebraska
partisans of different stripes pre
dicted different outcomes.
John Cavanaugh, an Omaha
Democrat who served with Gore
in the House of Representatives
in the 1970s and remains his
close friend, predicted Gore
would lose the popular Vote but
win the electoral vote.
“If something doesn’t happen
in the last few days, that looks
more likely than not to happen,”
he said late last week.
He predicted Gore would do
well in many of the tossup states,
allowing him to build a winning
block of electoral votes.
“When you do the electoral
math, it's hard to see how Gore
can lose," he said.
But Chuck Sigerson, chair
man of the Nebraska Republican
Party, predicted Bush would win
by a substantial margin, perhaps
capturing more than 300 elec
“I think he’s going to win big
time,” he said.
Sigerson dismissed the possi
bility of Gore losing the popular
vote and winning the electoral
vote, calling it “another
Democratic ploy to get
Democrats to vote.”
Hibbing said the close elec
tion has been exciting, but it is
unlikely to raise voter turnout.
Usually in a highly competitive
race, the turnout is high. But
Hibbing said some voters may be
uninspired by either candidate or
may believe there are no sub
stantial differences between
In any case, it could be a late
Tuesday night. Or an early
Election observers doubt Gore's chances in Nebraska
BY BRIAN CARLSON
Although some Democrats
haven’t given up hope that A1
Gore could peel off one of
Nebraska’s electoral votes, it looks
like George W. Bush will sweep all
In a recent copyrighted
Omaha World-Herald poll, Bush
held a 56-31 percentage-point
statewide lead over Gore. In a
September poll, Gore trailed
Bush by just four points in the 2nd
District, but Bush now leads by a
commanding 16 points there.
Nebraska and Maine are the
only states that award electoral
votes to the winners of each con
gressional district In the other 48
states, the statewide winner cap
tures all the state’s electoral votes.
If Bush wins Nebraska, he will
follow the lead of many
Republicans before him. The
GOP presidential candidate has
captured Nebraska in every elec
tion since 1964, when Democrat
Lyndon B. Johnson's nationwide
rout of Barry Goldwater extended
Bill Clinton won Lincoln in
both 1992 and 1996, but he did
not perform well enough in the
rest of the 1st District to capture
an electoral vote.
John Cavanaugh, an Omaha
Democrat who served with Gore
in the House of Representatives
during the 1970s, remains a close
friend of Gore’s.
Earlier this fall, Cavanaugh
concocted a scheme in which
Gore would win 270 electoral
votes to Bush's 268, with Omaha
providing the winning margin.
He said Democrats would contin
ue to scrape for an electoral vote
“We don't put a lot of stock in
the World-Herald poll,” he said.
“We still think there’s a shot.”
Cavanaugh said Nebraska
Democrats would be energized
by Gore’s competitiveness in Iowa
and other swing states.
But Nebraska Republicans
scoffed at the idea that Gore
could compete with Bush here.
“This state is just going to
slam the door on A1 Gore,” Gov.
Mike Johanns said. “I just see no
support out there except from
die-hard Democrats who always
vote Democratic no matter
Johanns, who has traveled
around the country with other
GOP governors to campaign for
Bush, predicted Bush would win
60-65 percent of the vote in
Chuck Sigerson, chairman of
the Nebraska Republican Party,
said Bush could win Nebraska by
the largest margin of any state in
the nation. He said Gore never
had a chance in Nebraska.
“It was Democratic propa
ganda,” he said. “We never felt he
was close anywhere in the state.
“Come on. This was a ploy by
John Cavanaugh and the
Democratic Party to give their
voters something to be excited
about,” Sigerson said.
Bill Avery, a political science
professor at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln and a
Democratic national committee
man, said Gore’s strong 2nd
District showing in the earlier poll
probably reflected the bounce he
received after the Democratic
National Convention in August
Avery acknowledged Gore’s
chances in Nebraska probably
MI think in a statewide poll you
don't have a big enough sample to
get an accurate reading in each
district,” he said referring to The
World-Herald poll. "But even if
the numbers are wrong, they can’t
be so far wrong. It's probably pret
Robert Sittig, a UNL political
science professor, said Gore had a
chance at one time to win the 2nd
District. But the Gore campaign
had to focus its efforts on swing
states and didn’t make the neces
sary investment in Nebraska, he
"It was kind of tantalizing to
think about,” he said. “The poten
tial, I think, was there. But it had
to be stroked up and worked at.
Nothing was done, and now I
can’t imagine it happening.”
Nelson would bring centrist stances, pragmatic thinking to Senate, some say
NELSON from page 1
As governor, he guided the
state during a tax crisis that took
several special legislative sessions
to resolve. He also led die creation
of a state lottery.
Seeking reelection in 1994, he
crushed GOP challenger Gene
Spence, winning 74 percent of the
Emboldened by that eyebrow
raising victory, Nelson entered the
1996 Senate race when Sen. James
Exon announced his retirement
The trouble was, he had
declared in 1994 that he would
serve out his term as governor. But
in 1996, with a Senate seat open,
he was breaking that pledge.
Heavily favored initially,
Nelson suffered a stunning defeat
at the hands of Chuck Hagel, who
rose from obscurity to defeat
Nelson by 16 percentage points. It
was a stinging defeat for Nelson,
who then served out his final two
years as governor.
Nelson found it difficult to
campaign because of his mother’s
health problems. She died that
fall, and later he said he regretted
not dropping out of the race.
It wasn't until later that Nelson
realized only one sitting governor
had ever been elected to the
Senate in the middle of a term.
Nelson insists he is not cam
paigning for redemption this year.
“It isn't about that. It’s about
serving the people in the United
States Senate,” he said. “I over
came the loss in 1996 by finishing
out my term for two years. I over
came whatever feelings I had
Earlier this year, when Sen.
Bob Kerrey announced he would
not seek a third Senate term, the
door opened for Nelson to reenter
During his tenure as governor,
Nelson pushed nearly 70 percent
of his proposed legislation
through the Legislature.
Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely,
who served in the Legislature dur
ing all eight years of Nelson’s
tenure as governor, said his suc
cess was due to toughness cou
pled with pragmatism.
“He’s not an ideologue,”
Wesely said. “He’s pragmatic, and
he wants to work through the
Wesely said he usually agreed
with Nelson, but not always. For
example, Nelson was at the
national forefront in promoting
welfare reform. Wesely disagreed
with Nelson's plan for trimming
the welfare rolls.
“He’s definitely a moderate
Democrat It’s a stretch to suggest
Ben Nelson would be a liberal,”
Wesely said, laughing.
Nelson’s approach to politics is
based more on practical politics
than passion, which can be both a
strength and a weakness, Wesely
“He’s more pragmatic than
impassioned. It can be frustrating
when you feel impassioned about
issues and he doesn’t” he said.
“But you’re glad when you dis
agree with him that he’s not pas
sionately opposed to you. He’s a
guy who’s in sharp contrast to Don
Stenberg, who I believe is an ideo
logue,” Wesely said.
Nelson can be trusted when
he pledges to work across party
lines, Wesely said.
“I think he’s very likable,” he
said. “What you see is what you
get. Republicans can feel confi
dent that he will listen to them as
Kerrey said Nelson would con
tinue the tradition of Nebraska
senators who think independent
“He’s the only candidate who's
not promised to be somebody’s
lapdog if elected to the Senate,” he
But Chuck Sigerson, chairman
of the Nebraska Republican Party,
said Nelson’s claim to be an inde
pendent thinker contrasts with his
longtime involvement in the
He notes that Nelson has
served as Nebraska chairman for
Democratic presidential candi
dates Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton
and A1 Gore. All seven of his
appointees to the Nebraska
Supreme Court were Democrats.
“If he ever got back to D.C.,
he'd pal around with A1 Gore, Bill
Odd candidates give
election some spice
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
There's the Arkansas candi
date for Congress who promises
to jump out of an airplane if elect
ed. The Nevada teacher running
for office on a dare from her sixth
grade class. And the Pennsylvania
ex-legislator who has to get per
mission from his probation officer
to make campaign appearances.
Election-time is here again,
and at the margins, beyond the
headlines of the presidential race,
the untidy beast called democracy
is offering up some doozies.
Consider Pat DiNizio, lead
singer for the New Jersey band
The Smithereens — and Reform
Party candidate for the U.S.
Senate. He's spent about $40,000;
one opponent, Jon Corzine, is
approaching $60 million. But
DiNizio's got something that
Corzine ain't got The freedom to
be unrepentantly unorthodox.
So he’s visited homes to give
concerts — punctuated by politi
cal speeches. He has run an ad
showing himself in a fictitious
wrestling match with Corzine and
Republican Bob Franks. He goes
into diners and gets attention by
saying things like, "Wake up! Life is
not just veal parmigiana!”
In New York City, Republican
Martha TUberman, 81, is running
for a state Senate seat in the Bronx
— much to her surprise. She
thought her candidacy was a
rumor until the Board of Elections
letter arrived. Seems GOP workers
gathered more than 1,000 signa
tures on her behalf.“You think I’d
run for any political office?” she
says. “I’d have to be out of my
Let’s move to Reno, Nev.,
where sixth-grade teacher Tierney
Cahill, a Democrat, is running for
Congress because her students at
dared her to.
Arkansas Republican con
gressional candidate Bob Thomas
has been sponsoring traffic and
weather reports on KARN-AM in
Little Rock. Listeners hear:
"Brought to you by Bob Thomas,
who promises to jump out of an
airplane if he beats Vic Snyder in
November in the 2nd
Clinton, Janet Reno and Ted
Kennedy,” Sigerson said. “You’re
known by the brand you wear. He
wears the Democratic brand.”
He also criticized Nelson’s
running for Senate in 1996 despite
his pledge to serve out his second
“If you can’t trust a man's word,
how can you trust him to repre
sent you?” Sigerson said.
Nelson said he regretted the
pledge, but said he let the voters
decide whether to release him.
Despite what Wesely said,
Nelson said he would bring pas
sion to Washington.
“I'll be passionate about solv
ing the farm problems today,” he
said. “I’ll be passionate about
health care and Social Security,
and I’ll be passionate about edu
On many issues, Nelson is a
centrist or even a conservative. He
supported welfare reform and the
death penalty and opposes abor
tion. On those issues, he differs lit
tie from Stenbeig.
But unlike Stenberg, Nelson
opposes partial privatization of
Social Security. He prefers to
extend the program's solvency by
shoring it up with budget surplus
He supports a more modest
tax cut than Stenberg and wants to
use the surplus to reduce the
national debt and preserve Social
Some critics say Nelson is
thin-skinned, that he doesn't take
criticism well. Nelson insists he
just wants to make sure people
understand his views. Often,
when he fully explains his views,
he can persuade people to recon
sider, he said.
Tomorrow, he’s hoping to
recapture the magic of 1990 and
1994 and put behind the bad
memories of 1996.
“The greatest strength I
showed during my eight years as
governor was to step up and be a
leader,” he said.
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University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Nebraska Union, 14th & R Streets
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