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A couple of weeks to go before we know whether there's a blue wave, a red uprising or calm seas.

Sixteen days, but who's counting?

Since all of the pollsters and pundits got it wrong in 2016, at least in terms of the electoral college vote, it seems prudent to just let this play out with no expectations either way.

"Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order," President Donald Trump shouts as he tries to frame the playing field and rally his troops. 

On Nov. 6, turnout wins.

Which side is more motivated, more willing to take the time and make the small effort required to cast a vote?

In Nebraska, Republicans expect to cruise once again.

Metropolitan Omaha's 2nd District is the only truly competitive congressional district in the state with Omaha usually giving the edge to the Democratic nominee before Sarpy County sweeps in with a flood of Republican votes. 

The sudden transfer of national Democratic funding out of that race was a sure sign of polling and priorities. 

Bob Krist has been underfunded in the governor's race and that makes it hard for him to deliver his message directly into living rooms and family rooms all across the state, and he has been denied the visibility of more than one debate.

The Senate contest has been more competitive in terms of campaign resources.

But it's uphill for Democrats in Nebraska, much easier for them to win if they're seeking non-partisan offices like state senator or mayor and are listed on the ballot without a D sitting beside their names.

Legislative races and the Medicaid expansion initiative fuel much of the energy this election year. And the results of those contests will have an immediate impact in 2019.

As this election year winds down, it's hard not to peek ahead.

The biggie in Nebraska in 2020, a presidential election year, will be Sen. Ben Sasse.

Will he be a candidate for re-election? Might he opt out and head to a think tank or a university, where he probably would have plenty of opportunities to teach or be a president or a chancellor?  

That decision has not been made, but Sasse is raising campaign funds so that he'll be positioned to seek re-election if that's the path he chooses sometime next year. 

A look at the Federal Election Commission website shows $1.1 million in cash on hand in his campaign committee account at the end of September.

It seems likely, if not certain, that Sasse would have Republican primary opposition if he seeks re-election, more because of what he says than how he votes.

There already has been probing.

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Sasse has compiled a conservative voting record, but he's not afraid to hold Trump accountable.   

* * * 

Finishing up:

* New York Times columnist David Brooks will take the pulse of Nebraska next week, speaking in McCook and then heading into north-central Nebraska for stops in Stuart, Ainsworth, Bassett, Atkinson and O'Neill.

* Nebraska's new tourism slogan sounds a lot like "Keep Driving. Colorado Ahead."

* And here are some alternate Nebraska tourism suggestions from a transplanted Nebraska friend living in South Dakota: "Southern South Dakota" or "We don't overemphasize football and have the record to prove it."

* One of Gov. Pete Ricketts' newest TV campaign ads targets the Legislature with a series of declarations that "I have fought the Legislature" over efforts to deliver property tax relief, stop benefits from going to "illegal immigrants" and reduce "wasteful state spending."

* Rep. Jeff Fortenberry introduced a resolution in the House calling for development of a security plan to protect religious minorities in Iraq.  

* Breakthrough moment at Memorial Stadium.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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