Terry’s GOP straw poll loss leaves more questions than answers


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

The good news for Dan Frei is he won a straw poll.

The good news for Lee Terry is Dan Frei won a straw poll.

Several dozen GOP insiders, folks who arguably know Republican Congressman Terry better than most voters, apparently don’t like what they see at least not in the short term.

Lee Terry Dan Frei

A recent poll of the Douglas County Republican Party’s Central Committee found Terry coming up short.

Asked to choose between the 8-term incumbent and his challenger in the GOP’s May 13 primary, Dan Frei, Frei won—easily, by 26 points:

  • Frei 60% (48 votes)
  • Terry 34% (27 votes)
  • Undecided 6%

Seventy-five of the Committee’s 101 members cast their ballots in the race, balloting that some committee watchers are privately questioning: Nebraska Watchdog is told some potential voters didn’t get to vote.

Along with the Terry-Frei race, the poll also measured the GOP Governor and Senate races.

According to one source, “Some campaigns got a heads up on it and others didn’t…seems like an imperfect system.”

But when questioned by Nebraska Watchdog the man behind the poll, GOP County Chairman Bryan Baumgart, denied any misbehavior.

Bryan Baumgart: ”I am curious as to who claims they hadn’t received a poll. I have not been contacted by, nor heard from a single member who hadn’t received it yet.

According to Baumgart, 84 people opened their email. He says four bounced and a “small number” of others don’t have individual email addresses. Baumgart says eight voted by phone and a “handful” didn’t want to vote.

Over the past few years the Central Committee has taken an anti-Terry bent, so as for the pro-Frei finish Baumgart was less than stunned.

Nebraska Watchdog: Did the results of the Terry-Frei race surprise you?

Bryan Baumgart: Was I surprised by the results? Honestly…I figured Dan Frei would probably win the straw poll but I didn’t think he would win by such a margin.

Nebraska Watchdog: Do the results of the poll have any bearing on the race?

Bryan Baumgart: I don’t really think the poll itself will have a bearing on the election. The number of Frei supporters might. Congressman Terry has done a fine job representing the 2nd district though and the DCRP is proud to support him as well.

Frei who trails Terry in fundraising— that’s an understatement according to their last reports it was Terry $800,000-Frei $6,000—says the poll is proof “Nebraskans want new leadership.”

What we do know is that Frei has 48 votes from party insiders.

He’ll presumably need another 22,000 to win the May 13 primary.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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