The next U.S. Senator to be elected from Nebraska may be a Republican or a Democrat, but he or she won't have the connections to McCook we have enjoyed with Sen. Ben Nelson over the past 12 years.
Critics will remember Nelson for his deciding vote on Obamacare, but missing in the rhetoric from the Republican side is an answer to the question of what will replace it if it is actually repealed. Are they ready to return to the dilemma of pre-existing conditions and the lack of coverage that imposes a punative, hidden tax on those fortunate enough to carry private insurance?
Southwest Nebraskans are enjoying jobs brought to our area, in one way or another, through the Nelson connection to Lincoln or Washington, from the Work Ethic Camp to the Keystone Business Center, financing for the hospital project and other private and public enterprises.
Most visible of the Senate contenders are Attorney General Jon Bruning, who was here Friday, as well as State Sen. Deb Fischer and Treasurer Don Stenberg, who have also put in appearances.
Perhaps the closest to Southwest Nebraska is Fischer, who at least shares a Mid Plains Community College Area connection with us, although Nebraska is a small state by any measure.
The winner of the Republican side will face Bob Kerrey, who has to overcome the stigma of abandoning Nebraska for New York City, and saying that Obamacare didn't go far enough. Will the voters remember that Mitt Romney essentially invented Obamacare?
National money is sure to pour into the state from both sides of the race.
Regardless the outcome, Southwest Nebraskans need to stay involved and keep our elected representatives informed about issues important to us, whether city, county, state or national.
Polls close at 8 p.m. today, so you may still have time to vote.
Or check Wednesday's Gazette for complete local results.