GOP Senate front-runner Ben Sasse accused of ducking issues, again

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Just in case you’re still not sure who you’re voting for the in the Nebraska Senate race, maybe, just maybe, the next debate will help you decide.

After all this is the time of year—40 some days ’til Election Day—when the TV ads start flowing and a lot of voters are just tuning in.

Oh wait, there are no more debates in the Senate race.

That is unless you count the quarrel between Democrat Dave Domina and Republican Ben Sasse over Sasse’s recent no-show at a debate in Hastings.

Domina is accusing Sasse of ducking him, something Nebraska Watchdog got a first-hand glimpse of two months ago.

Then there was Nebraska Watchdog’s attempt to question Sasse on a gun control dispute brewing on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. While Sasse’s three GOP opponents in the primary all weighed in, Sasse’s campaign had “no comment.”

And during a televised debate in Kearney earlier this month another gun issue found Sasse silent. When he was asked about background checks at gun shows—that are opposed by the National Rifle Association which has endorsed Sasse—the GOP’s choice played the ignorance card: “You raise some particular issues around an NRA policy that I don’t actually know much about,” responded Sasse.

Enter Domina’s accusation that Sasse—considered by most political insiders to be a shoe-in November 4—is hiding.

In case you missed it, Sasse says he never told the folks in Hastings he would be there. This is what his campaign told the Grand Island Independent:

“Ben had a family commitment with his daughter — taking her to her first hunter safety class. He has already participated in more debates than Deb Fischer and Bob Kerrey did in 2012, and with 44 days left, Ben also is the only candidate hitting all 93 counties in this campaign,” said Tyler Grassmeyer, Sasse’s campaign manager.

Domina’s campaign has fired back:

“(Sasse) claimed his conflict was taking his young daughter to a gun safety course…there are dozens of these offered all over Nebraska and even online at this time of year. The word we hear is that Mr. Sasse is ‘uncomfortable’ debating for the Senate seat. Oh my goodness!! Can there be a clearer confession that Mr. Sasse is not equipped to be a United States Senator?”

All of which takes this issue full circle and not just for Domina and Sasse.

2012 Presidential Debate

You see in that 2012 Senate battle between Fischer and Kerrey—a closely watched and entertaining fight—their final debate was October 1: once again weeks before Election Day.

Both that year’s debate schedule and this year’s are a far cry from the three 2012 Presidential Debates which were held October 3, October 16 and October 22.

Of course there’s a Commission on Presidential Debates ramrodding those get-togethers, while Nebraska relies on a haphazard, no rules from one year to the next, operation.

It’s never clear when, where or how (on TV or not) debates for the most important statewide offices will be handled.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org.

Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday morning at 7:40, KLIN in Lincoln every Tuesday morning at 7:35 and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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