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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Boost for Dan Osborn’s progressive campaign in NE 

Welcome to Team Tuesday!


Back in April, we highlighted Dan Osborn, an exciting blue-collar progressive candidate for Senate in Nebraska.  Now I’m pleased to report that he’s received an important endorsement, and his campaign seems to be ramping up.


The Intercept noted this week that Osborn, a former local union leader, has received an endorsement from the UAW.  Resources for the campaign are expected to follow.


The UAW’s Shawn Fain said, “We need candidates like Dan who aren’t afraid to be an independent voice for the working class in the halls of power. It isn’t about your political party; it’s about taking the fight against corporate greed to Washington DC. As a union member, Dan knows all about that fight, and we’ve got his back.”   Osborn has received other union endorsements, but this one is really big.


Polls have shown that his race against 73-year-old GOP Sen. Deb Fischer, funded by AIPAC among others, is tight. 


Internal party struggles on both sides complicate race


Democrats are struggling with Osborn’s independent stance.  They didn’t run a candidate against him in the primary, apparently thinking that Osborn is strong enough to stand in for them. Democratic state party chair Jane Kleeb wants Osborn to agree to endorse President Biden and caucus with the Democrats if elected, and is threatening to run a write-in candidate against him if he doesn’t comply.  So far Osborn is saying no. 


He will have to caucus with the Dems to serve on committees.  However, Biden is far underwater in Nebraska, as in a number of states where Democratic Senate candidates are leading their races. I don’t think it makes sense for Osborn to endorse Biden, who wouldn’t win the state anyway.  Trump won it by about 20 points in 2020.


Since Sen. Ben Sasse stepped down recently, both NE senate seats are up this year – there will be a special election for Sasse’s seat.  Neither former governor Pete Ricketts, who was appointed to serve out Sasse’s term, nor Fischer have received GOP endorsements so far.  The sense I get is that the two of them aren’t sufficiently MAGA for the state party.  So the GOP has its own drama to figure out.


Campaigns like Osborn’s are how we can build power for the future beyond the Democrats’ current urban base.  I’ll keep on eye on it!

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