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NE Senate race: New immigration fight, Dinsdale finds a friend

By   /   April 28, 2014  /   No Comments

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

An always appreciated endorsement from the state’s largest newspaper and a far lesser known— but potentially volatile— immigration spat leads off the final two weeks of the GOP Senate race.

First, that border fight.

Osborn, Sasse, Dinsdale and McLeay (left to right)

Osborn, Sasse, Dinsdale and McLeay (left to right)

NumbersUSA, which  describes itself as an “immigration-reduction organization,” is touting Shane Osborn while indicating that Ben Sasse backs some sort of unspecified amnesty for those in the country illegally.

Osborn, called a “true reformer” who opposes amnesty, and Sasse have been considered the frontrunners in the race.

Sasse spokesman Tyler Grassmeyer quickly discounted NumbersUSA.

“We’re not sure why these folks think they’re qualified to judge Ben’s position on illegal immigration since we’ve never heard from them or heard of them,” Grassmeyer tells Nebraska Watchdog. “Ben Sasse’s position on immigration is clear: Secure the border, no amnesty, no deals with President Obama.”

Sasse and Sid Dinsdale are given a favorable rating when it comes to protecting the borders, but similar to Sasse, the Dinsdale campaign is a bit bewildered.

A Dinsdale spokesman says while they have received a survey, it hasn’t been submitted yet. NumbersUSA says Dinsdale’s views on amnesty haven’t been flushed out but according to Dinsdale’s website, “amnesty is not an option.”

NumbersUSA says Bart McLeay’s immigration views are completely “unknown.”

But McLeay’s website says securing the border is his first priority and that he opposes a pathway to citizenship. McLeay adds he “will consider supporting a pathway to permanent residency without voting rights and federal benefits for qualified persons.” They are described as individuals who “pass background checks and meet other minimal standards.”

As for its praise for Osborn, NumbersUSA says Osborn replied to its survey and promised to back all of the group’s immigration priorities.

Meanwhile, the Omaha World-Herald is putting its ink behind Dinsdale, saying most Nebraska Republicans “can be comfortable” with the president of Pinnacle Bank.

The paper also discounted any frontrunner talk, insisting there’s no clear favorite while adding that McLeay hasn’t generated “much popular support.”

Osborn lacks solutions while Sasse — with his “ties to Washington, out-of-state groups and national figures such as Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz” — needs to assure voters that Nebraskans will have his ear, says the Sunday editorial.

It’s always hard to gauge the paper’s clout but it looms larger if voters are still scratching their heads.

The winner of the May 13 GOP primary faces Democrat Dave Domina in November.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected] 

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Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.