By - September 1, 2011

Jon Bruning: Nebraska’s Joe Biden

AUTHOR: Elijah Lovejoy

Years ago, during his first campaign for Attorney General, there was a rumor when Bruning was in college, he got ticketed for stealing a bar sign out of Iguanas. “Who cares?” I thought. He was young.

Several years later I learned, when Bruning was in law school, he wrote articles at the Daily Nebraskan in support of gay marriage and abortion. Again, I chalked it up to youthful indiscretion.

When Bruning announced he was getting into and then out of the Governor’s race after Tom Osborne announced his candidacy, one could hardly blame him. No one believed the three-time National Championship football coach could be beaten, except the tenacious Governor Dave Heineman.

When Bruning announced he was going to run for Senate if incumbent Chuck Hagel didn’t run, we rooted for him to run anyway given Chuck Hagel’s move to the left. And, when he announced he would run anyway, we overlooked the swearing in public and some other follies of youth.

And then he got out when Johanns got in. And, rumor had it, he really wanted to be Governor.

Now he has again announced for Senate against Nelson, an incumbent on the Appropriations Committee. Bruning announced in the period between his re-election as Attorney General and the day he was actually sworn in to begin his term.

A recent newspaper article highlighted Attorney General Jon Bruning’s latest fiasco. In 2007, Bruning waived a $1 million settlement payment from Nelnet, a company who had donated $16,000 to his campaign. A year afterwards, Bruning and two top Nelnet executives bought a $675,000 “cabin” together on the Platte River.

One imagines the conversation went something like this:

Bruning: “Thanks for $16,000 in campaign contributions. Because you have been such good Nebraskans, I am waiving the $1 million fine for the settlement with Nebraska.”

Nelnet Official: “Thanks, Jon. And for being such a good Nebraskan, you should know we are just going to award bonuses and buy a cabin on the Platte River with the money we saved. How would you like to be in for a third?”

Why would any Attorney General think that was acceptable? Bruning has demonstrated a pattern of stupidity. Bruning has put his foot in his mouth so many times over the last ten years, he is in danger of developing athlete’s tongue.

He has become Nebraska’s Joe Biden, who somehow remained in office, despite his numerous gaffes.

In a field of five Republicans, one begins to question whether Bruning should be the GOP standard bearer. One questions whether he is now too damaged to beat Senator Nelson and if the GOP should look to perennial hopeful Don Stenberg, who has always had the courage to stay in his races, despite he odds. Or Senator Deb Fischer, who we hope does not share the maturity of a college freshman

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Comments (3)


  1. Patricia Rief-Heskett says:

    Please get in contact with me. I have a lot of other info on Bruning you might be interested in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Spencer Zimmerman is the only Republican candidate listed as being on the ballot with the Nebraska Secretary of state, and you don’t even mention him in the article? poor reporting, the other four you do list failed to do their homework and missed the August 27th deadline to file paperwork and won’t be able to get on the ballot until after Dec. 1st. Anything could happen between then and now so the only Republican in this race is Spencer Zimmerman.

    Here is the list of candidates on the ballot:

    Nebraska Secretary of State
    2012 Candidate List for the Primary Election
    to be held on May 15, 2012
    *Denotes preferred mailing address
    The list below contains candidates that filed for office prior to August 27, 2011. Now due to a
    change in statute, our office will not be accepting candidate filings until December 1, 2011.
    United States Senate
    Democrat Larry Marvin 635
    Republican Spencer Zimmerman

    Look it up for yourself at http://www.sos.ne.gov/elec/2012/pdf/Candidate%20List.pdf

  3. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an article about Zimmerman:

    Truck driver to strive for U.S. Senate
    by George Lauby (North Platte Bulletin) – 6/27/2011

    Spencer Zimmerman of Omaha, a decorated soldier currently working as truck driver, will seek the United States Senate.

    Zimmerman filed a declaration of candidacy on the Republican ticket on June 16 and submitted the $1,740 filing fee with the Nebraska Secretary of State.

    Zimmerman, 31, was previously a candidate for office in Wisconsin and has served in the Air Force, according to his announcement.

    He received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for meritorious service in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Stationed at Offutt Air Force Base from 2000-04, Zimmerman recently moved to Omaha where he works as a truck driver.

    He is an Edgewood College graduate with a Bachelors of Business Administration, and the author of a novel titled The Epoch Point.

    Zimmerman said his campaign will focus on the economy.

    “My first priority will be to reduce our deficit and pay off our debt. Our national debt is over $14 trillion and climbing, we’ve reached the debt ceiling. This path cannot be sustained. Our government needs to begin living within its means, just like the rest of us. We need to look at every dollar spent and ensure it is being used efficiently,” he said.

    “At the same time,” he added, “we need to maintain a strong national defense. I believe the best way to do this would be to return to a Unicameral legislature similar to the Continental Congress that we had during the American Revolution.”

    Zimmerman also said the U.S. needs to create a business-friendly environment that will continue to bring new jobs and opportunity to our shores by preventing tax or fee increases and promoting innovation by eliminating regulations that stifle entrepreneurs.”

    More information can be found on the Facebook site, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spencer-Zimmerman-for-US-Senate-2012/174894462572077

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