U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) has not expressed any interest in running for President. During his remarks at the Story County Republican dinner last Friday he mainly shied away from politics and even downplayed politics. He also made it known his reasons for coming to Iowa were personal. He had to pay off a bet he lost on the Iowa-Nebraska football game (he had to drive Uber in Des Moines wearing Hawkeye gear). His kids also participated in a triathlon in Des Moines over the weekend.
Another Republican leader has now said Sasse isn’t welcome in the state. Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann in June said Sasse was not welcome.
On his personal Facebook page, Pottawattamie County Republican Chair Jeff Jorgensen wrote:
LET ME MAKE THIS AS CLEAR AS I CAN – NEBRASKA SENATOR BEN SASSE IS NOT WELCOME IN POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, NOR WILL HE EVER BE INVITED TO SPEAK TO POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY REPUBLICANS!
The link Jorgensen shared can be found here.
I don’t know what the future holds for Senator Sasse. I don’t know if he is even remotely interested in running for office. Here is what I do know. Attacking a person who has one of the most conservative voting records in the U.S. Senate because he isn’t devoted to President Trump is poor form.
Iowa Republicans need to do some soul-searching, Do they want to be a party that is focused on a personality or on principles? Do they really want support for Trump to be the litmus test for candidates? Also, will Republicans tolerate leaders blackballing candidates because they didn’t support President Trump? Should Sasse decide to compete in the Iowa Caucus whether it is 2020 or 2024 are we really ok with county and state party leaders trying to put a thumb on the scale in the form of payback?
Is this what Republicans really want to become? I hope not.