Get ready for the “I told you so” post.
It’s important to note that Ben Sasse’s campaign received endorsements from tea party-supported figures like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sarah Palin, established conservative media like National Review, DC-based groups like 60 Plus Association, Club for Growth and (eventually) FreedomWorks, and others like Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska. Many believe the turning point was 60 Plus Association’s ads “Dishonorable” about Shane Osborn and “Debt” about Sid Dinsdale. Both ads were in the last weeks of the election and solidified support for Sasse. (Full disclosure: I work for DC London, the firm that produced these winning ads.)
So, back in March I wrote about Sasse the Uniter:
It struck me that this is a rare case of a primary candidate have the respect of hard-lined tea party favorites and those generally viewed as the Establishment. While everyone seems to agree that 2014 is winnable for Republicans, there seems to be a lot of stress that one faction or another will ruin it. In the case of Sasse, there’s hope for a tea party and Establishment truce for the good of the country. With so many great conservatives in the ranks for 2014, I hope this truce will be less rare.
The Sasse win shows us that not every primary election has to be Tea Party vs. Establishment. There really are good candidates who can capture support from all sides. The media wants to rip the conservative movement apart and are encouraging the Tea Party vs. Establishment divide. Sometimes it’s real, sometimes it’s not. Principles matter, but let’s not keep giving the media ammunition. Sasse won with broad support. That’s the only way other Republicans can win in November.