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Real reason Sasse a no-show


The campaign response from Sasse’s office regarding his no-show in Hastings has nothing to do with the family excuse he gave to the newspaper (Hastings Tribune, Sept. 22) or his busy schedule.

Debate Pic For Website

Last Sunday, I organized and promoted a town hall event at the Hastings City Auditorium along with the League of Women Voters, Area Retired Teachers Association, YWCA, We The People Organization and the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce for the U.S. Senate candidates in Nebraska.

The goal was to create an open forum in which voters could better understand where the four candidates stand on the country’s biggest issues in relation to one another.

One candidate, however, chose not to appear and also not to communicate with the host.

Within the last three weeks, some of his staff, and even a family member, said they believed he would be coming to the event.

Just the week before, at the debate in North Platte, I requested verbally to Ryan Broker (Sasse’s campaign director for Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District) that they confirm with me whether Sasse would appear in Hastings.

From that point forward, there was no communication from the Sasse campaign to indicate that Sasse would be a no-show.

In our original invitation, we even offered Sasse the opportunity to send a representative to greet the audience with an opening statement and to address why Sasse himself could not be present.

So why did Sasse choose not to attend?

Let us backtrack a little.

Our town hall debate in Hastings was born from the Sasse campaign’s concept to do these types of events across Nebraska.

My first series of communications with the Sasse campaign was by email, phone and lunch with a Sasse staffer in June 2014.

I asked the Sasse campaign to pick a date and time in September for a town hall debate in the Tri-City area. They had until Sept. 1 to determine the location/date/time.

When there was no direction given by Sept. 1, the other three U.S. Senate candidates agreed to come to Hastings on Sept. 21.

So why did Sasse not participate?

I believe the truth is that Ben Sasse cannot effectively debate.

Watching Sasse at the State Fair and at North Platte was a real wake-up call for me, especially in North Platte. Sasse had a 1,000-yard stare into nowhere with no emotion when answering questions and listening to others.

I got the impression Sasse was thinking, “What am I doing here? I have plenty of campaign money for the media to show the voters who I am and what I stand for without putting up with these debates.”

Evidence has shown that Sasse is getting annihilated in the debates. His hopes of being elected would be in jeopardy if he continued to engage in them.

So the campaign response from Sasse’s office regarding his no-show in Hastings has nothing to do with the family excuse he gave to the newspaper (Hastings Tribune, Sept. 22) or his busy schedule.

He was given the chance to choose the schedule from the beginning, and chose not to do it. So he has just admitted to the fact that he cannot prove himself against other candidates in a debate.

- Butch Hughes, Hastings