No change of pace as election nears

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Anyone who was expecting the treat of being able to take a deep breath and give the election some deep thought before next week's election is in for a nasty trick.

That's because timbre of the campaign, on all levels, is holding true to the end.

Among the latest is a new attack on Sen. Ben Nelson that should sound alarms in his hometown, should his opponent Pete Ricketts be elected.

Nelson was instrumental in switching on one of the brightest lights for McCook's economic future, with the establishment of a local operation for high-tech company 21st Century Systems Inc., an Omaha company which provides cutting-edge software for the military.

Now Ricketts has attacked Nelson because Nelson's son, Patrick J. Nelson, 34, is marketing director for the company, and the senator has helped steer business 21st Century's way.

The issue is certainly worth discussion -- as is nearly any issue in a modern campaign -- but making sure homestate companies have a fair shot at federal contracts is an important part of the job of any member of Congress.

The Republicans are pulling out all the stops, with Ricketts, Gov. Dave Heineman, U.S. Sen Chuck Hagel and other party leaders planning a rally here Friday. They'll be at the Country Kitchen from 10:30 t0 11:15 a.m.

Closer to home, supporters of Legislative District 44 candidate Frank Shoemaker say postings on a Web site, http://necitizen.com, did not come from Shoemaker and are a false representation of his positions.

Five business people -- one from Cambridge and four from McCook -- as well as a McCook attorney, have signed a letter accusing an Imperial irrigation group of being behind the posting, and calling for it to be withdrawn and an apology issued to Shoemaker and voters in the district.

"The responses posted on the Web site did not come from me or anyone on my campaign," Shoemaker said in a statement issued today. "The information provided, from my telephone number and educational credentials, down to the most minute policy statements, is patently false and intended to deceive unsuspecting voters in Southwest Nebraska," he said.

"The posting of deliberately false information of this nature is reckless and irresponsible, and we know exactly where it is coming from," according to the release. "Steve Smith and WaterClaim are my opponent's biggest supporters and this information would not have been posted without the blessings of Mark Christensen himself."

It's unfortunate that the District 44 race could deteriorate into an east vs. west contest, and we hope it isn't seen that way.

Whoever wins the seat must work to unify Southwest Nebraska for effective representation in Lincoln.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: