U.S. Senate Candidate Domina Seeks Nebraska Foothold

SIOUX CITY, IA. – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Dave Domina is looking for traction in a solidly Republican state. When speaking in South Sioux City at the Dakota Perk cafe Wednesday amid his campaign launch swing, Domina heard some math that could provide some solace.

Dick Erickson, of Jackson, Neb., described living in low-population, conservative Rock County, where he was elected as a Democrat to the assessor position. Erickson said he won in spite of the Republican voter registration lead being about 850 to 250 over Democrats.

“They were tired of the present administration and I think that is true today,” he said.

Erickson said that means an upstart can persevere through unfavorable political math.

Domina, an attorney from Omaha, launched his campaign for the Senate seat in Nebraska on Tuesday. In moving through Northeast Nebraska, he made stops in Norfolk, Wayne and South Sioux City. Domina will speak in many more towns before his kickoff campaign swing ends Sunday.

Domina told the crowd of 30 that he sees a winning recipe by doing well in the metropolitan Omaha and Lincoln areas, then nabbing votes in the conservative rural parts of the state lying primarily in the 3rd Congressional District. Domina said people wonder how he can win in 2014 if Bob Kerrey, a former U.S. senator, couldn’t achieve a comeback win in 2012? (Kerrey lost to Republican Deb Fischer.)

Domina said Kerrey had a negating factor in having lived away from the state for many years until returning to run in 2012.

“He never got over being a New Yorker,” Domina said of the impression of Nebraska voters. By comparison, Domina said he has bona fides in rural areas because he was raised near tiny Coleridge, 40 miles west of Sioux City.

He added that ranchers have a favorable impression from when he was the lead attorney in a case on unfair competition in the meatpacking industry, where a $1.3 jury verdict went against Iowa Beef Producers. That verdict was overturned on appeal.

Domina said Nebraska Republicans are growing tired of seeing their opportunities stagnating while the number of billionaires in America grows.

“If your ox is being gored by the same cause… eventually you decide to fight the ox. I believe that is where (Nebraskans) are,” he said.

In a current case, Domina represents landowners challenging a state law that has allowed TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to proceed. The landowners contend TransCanada should not have eminent domain power.

Domina said congressional priorities should be passing a multi-year Farm Bill after a series of short-term extensions, setting a path to citizenship for people without legal status in America as part of immigration policy reform and tweaking the 2010 Affordable Care Act that is having recent implementation problems and seeing a low number of sign-ups for health insurance.

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is not seeking re-election in 2014. The Republican candidates are Midland University President Ben Sasse, Sid Dinsdale, a bank executive from Elkhorn, former state treasurer Shane Osborn and Omaha corporate attorney Bart McLeay.

 *This article originally appeared in Sioux City Journal.