Patrick Ruffini

Jon Bruning

Kos is wondering why no one is talking about Chuck Hagel's primary challenger.

I'd be happy to oblige.

Chuck Hagel has drawn a serious primary challenger. His name is Jon Bruning, Nebraska's attorney general. His website is here. If you're so inclined, you can contribute here.

Bruning is the youngest Attorney General in Nebraska history. He was first elected by a 2-to-1 margin in 2002 and was unopposed for re-election in 2006.

A poll in early May put Bruning's favorable rating as higher than Hagel or Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, a potential Democratic candidate:

Hagel’s 51 percent compared to 44 percent for Bush,54 percent for Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey — a potential Democratic Senatecandidate — 61 percent for Bruning and 70 percent for [Gov.] Dave Heineman.

Nebraska is one of the most bright red states in the country, and it's unclear whether Fahey will run. Either way, it's difficult to see the political wisdom of national Republicans getting involved to save Hagel. This is Nebraska, not Rhode Island, so you don't need to nominate a particular type of Republican to win. And Bruning, the state's popular Attorney General, would have a better chance in the fall than Hagel, who has forever alienated the party's base. Ask Chafee and DeWine whether you can win without the base once Democrats smell blood.

For the NRSC, Chuck Hagel has to be seen as more Bob Smith than Lincoln Chafee. With a good alternative in the race, it's time for national Republicans to tell Hagel that he's on his own.

Patrick Ruffini

Patrick Ruffini is an online strategist dedicated to helping Republicans and conservatives achieve dominance in a networked era. He has seen American politics from every vantagepoint — as a campaign staffer, activist, and analyst.