Ben Sasse is making it clear that he plans to portray himself as “The Outsider” in his U.S. Senate race.
Sasse, 41, sounded that theme in his first political television ad of the season this week, in which he proposes moving the U.S. Capitol to the Nebraska prairie to end dysfunction in the federal government.
Sasse is one of four Nebraska Republicans running for Senate. He is currently president of Midland University in Fremont. A native of Nebraska, Sasse worked for more than four years in former President George W. Bush's administration as a top Health and Human Services adviser.
He also attended Harvard and Yale Universities, and has made a name for himself as a national speaker, talking about health care to hospitals and others for about $15,000 per speech.
Sasse returned to his hometown of Fremont five years ago to take the Midland job.
His television ad, which is titled “The Outsider,” is the first political ad to be aired this cycle. His campaign said it invested about $50,000 to run the ad over about two weeks.
In the ad, the U.S. Capitol is loaded onto a flatbed semitrailer truck and moved to Nebraska.
During the move, Sasse intones: “The way to cure the incredible ineffectiveness and dysfunction of both parties in Washington, D.C. — we'll move the Capitol to Nebraska and leave the lobbyists and influence peddlers behind.”
In an interview, Sasse said he would love to move the Capitol to Nebraska, but he acknowledges that is unlikely. Instead, he said, the ad is intended to start a conversation. “We're talking about a thought experiment. If the Founders came back, would they recognize the (current) system of lobbyists and permanent incumbency?” asked Sasse.
The other GOP candidates are former State Treasurer Shane Osborn, Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale and Omaha attorney Bart McLeay.
On the Democratic side, Omaha attorney David Domina is considering a Senate run.