This article is the continuation in our series looking at the GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Ben Nelson.
Prior articles about candidates for U.S. Senate:
- Following the Jon Bruning Money Trail
- Profiling Jon Bruning: An Unorthodox Analysis
- Nebraska US Senate GOP Candidate Spencer Zimmerman
- More on GOP Senate Candidates: Don Stenberg
- Senator Deb Fischer Hat in Widening GOP Ring for Nebraska’s US Senate Seat
- Jon Bruning Announces Bid For Senate – We Should Listen to Our Mommas
Check out our Election 2012 PAGE for much more information!
This article is about Pat Flynn, a former Investment Adviser (retired) from Schuyler.
My husband, our daughter, Tarah, a graduating high school senior at the time who knew she’d be voting for the first time in 2012, and I, had the opportunity to talk at length with Mr. Flynn about a year ago when he traveled to Lincoln. The personal visit was much appreciated. We found Mr. Flynn to be a sincere, genuine, and professional gentleman. He particularly excelled at communicating the concerns of young adult voters, like Tarah, which came as no surprise considering his many years of volunteer service starting up and running a youth ministry program. This work was likely inspired by his own problems as a young adult, about which Flynn was / is straightforward.
Pat Flynn is the only candidate in the race who has run his own successful business and who is not a career politician. Flynn has attempted to make himself accessible by traveling throughout the state extensively, and through his participation in events organized by various groups and organizations, including all of the debates. A couple of videos have been embedded at this article as an example of the several that were convened this primary season (these and additional debate videos can be seen by clicking HERE). The bottom line: No one could accuse Mr. Flynn of lacking in work ethic, failing to visit all parts of the state, or lacking necessary organizational ability to an extent that precluded his participation in events.
In addition to having the opportunity to speak directly with Pat Flynn, I was also able to speak with the manager of his campaign a number of times. Both of those contacts, of course, helped me understand basic philosophy and strategy of the candidate and his campaign, early. I was able to observe, from time to time how it was carried out. Through the normal course of keeping in touch with contacts, I was able to somewhat track opinions about Mr. Flynn and the campaign. It did seem to me a lot of people were interested in Flynn’s candidacy, because there seems a growing “hunger” for alternatives to the usual slate of politician candidates. Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve consistently heard positive things about Mr. Flynn as in individual and that his ability to connect with a crowd has improved over time, and he always leaves seems to leave a positive impression one on one, wherever he goes.
I have not examined every aspect of Flynn’s positions on policies – readers can review them by visiting his “Issues” page on his site and viewing some of the available video.
Flynn’s candidacy may not have reached its full potential, however, despite his positive qualities, likely for the following reasons:
- Management and strategy of the campaign, overall…
- Perhaps some of the mistakes made by candidates who are new or who are not career politicians or “slick”. Two examples of which in Flynn’s case include going into debt as a campaign and the embrace of “the Fair Tax”. The FairTax seems to be regularly adopted by candidates at the beginning of their campaign – when they are attempting to get traction or near the end, if they haven’t quite caught fire. Unfortunately, the logic for endorsing the plan, too often seems to be the recognition by candidates that there are is a very energetic and loyal base of FairTax activists who come with supporting the policy (see footnote[1. The FairTax, as broadly outlined and marketed by advocates, would, they state, abolish the current tax code and the IRS. On its face this idea, is of course incredibly attractive. The replacement policy would be a consumption tax or could be thought of as a national sales. To reduce a consumption tax’s regressive nature – sales taxes always hit the poor the hardest, the FairTax involves a “prebate”. Every month Americans would receive a check from the government of this prebate which is a credit of sales tax, proponents say, that is based on income guidelines and has been, again – they say, calculated to ensure the regressive tax is removed because the amount of the prebate is based on the federal poverty line numbers. ] for an example). Going into debt as a campaign is a big no-no if you want people to believe you will not continue driving government in the same direction.
- Despite the good intentions of both the candidate and his manager and some good and unique ideas – needed as an “outsider” candidate – it seemed that there were too many limitations on what would and would not be done for philosophical reasons, and perhaps in a few cases, specific personnel choices were not helpful
- Some minor glitches with the campaigns’ logistics, such as dissemination of information that was out of date – an email address, for instance (one literally bounced back to us that was on a printed handout). One of the campaign’s TV ads actually had an audio error that should have been detected by whoever edited it or someone responsible with the campaign should have caught
- Despite the natural ability to connect with people one and one and an always-improving public speaking presentation, there was a disparity between those kinds of interactions and his style on videos made both for the campaign website and TV ads which made Pat seem, both to my husband and myself, like a different person from the one we’d met and was regularly described, and our assessment of that persona was not positive
- Lack of insider status within the Republican Party
- It is difficult enough to run for public office in a state dominated by one political party, and one that has increasingly made running as a challenger difficult. These difficulties are only increased by a media, particularly the state’s two largest newspapers, which protect the entrenched power structure
- Obstruction by Nebraska media, particularly Nebraska’s two largest newspaper
- Some shortcomings – mostly considered so when compared to the expensive and slick campaigns conducted by front-runners – are to be expected from a real person, but those contrasts should be weighed and judged by voters. Apparently the brains trusts at Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star believe they are smarter than their readers – the voters of Nebraska – and, therefore, believe it is their jobt to make these determinations on our behalf
- Omaha World-Herald literally cut Flynn out of photos from a couple of events which were attended by himself, Jon Bruning, Don Stenberg, and Deb Fischer, as shown in this forum posting. (Spencer Zimmerman has not participated in more than a couple of events throughout the campaign cycle)
- Lincoln Journal Star reportedly featured Jon Bruning, Don Stenberg, and Deb Fischer prominently, above the fold, while Pat Flynn and Spencer Zimmerman were given short shrift. Considering Flynn’s level of participation in the race, which predated Deb Fischer’s, and was at least as consistent as hers throughout, he should have received equal prominence
- As Mr. Flynn noted in an interview on KFAB in late April, he was obstructed by Omaha World-Herald from participating in their May 1 debate, because, he was told, he “had not earned his place at the podium”. Managing Editor David Kotok, KETV reported, “Kotok noted there are six Republicans on the Nebraska ballot, but he said only three of them are actually competing for the GOP nomination.” Just WHO put David Kotok in charge of determining who is competing?
The treatment of Pat Flynn in several instances illustrates that establishment media, especially the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star seem hell-bent on ensuring that only career politicians are given attention. Some voters – I think in increasing numbers, actually – are questioning whether or not its time to return to the part-time citizen legislator who has had and can return to a life that doesn’t involve politics. Serve with integrity – and then, for God’s sake…go home! Now there’s a thought.
I should note that I’ve had one person report to me that due to the outrageous conduct of the Omaha World-Herald regarding the May 1 debate, they are casting their vote for Pat Flynn, and another who is thinking about it.
Project Vote Smart page
Nebraska Senate Race 2012 total contributions(all candidates listed together)
Nebraska Senate Race 2012 top contributors (all candidates listed together)
Federal Election Commission
Former run: 2008 US Senate GOP Primary
Speaking in Pat Flynn at Millard Business Association, April 9, 2012
Speaking in Wayne County, March 7, 2012
Interview with Scott Voorhees January 12, 2012
Washington County Republican Party Debate, Blair – March 27, 2012
Senate Candidate Debate in Norfolk, NE on April 11, 2012
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom Debate, Omaha – April 15, 2012