The Washington Times - January 6, 2014, 07:26AM

One of the men seeking the GOP nomination for Nebraska’s open Senate seat is proposing moving the capital from Washington to his home state, saying it would be an effective way to cut out the lobbyists and special interests that have turned Capitol Hill into an ATM dispensing taxpayers’ money.

“That’s it, the way to cure the incredible ineffectiveness and dysfunction of both parties in Washington — we move the Capitol to Nebraska,” Ben Sasse, a university president and former Bush administration official, said in 30-second campaign ad that ran in Nebraska over the weekend during the NFL playoff games.

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Mr. Sasse said he doesn’t actually believe there are the votes in Congress to move the capital, but said proposing the move is a “thought experiment” designed to pose the question of what the founders would think if they saw the influence-peddling and extent of federal intervention in Americans’ lives.


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“I think that they, Nebraska work-a-day folks, think that we’re on the precipice of national decline and they don’t think Washington gets it at all,” Mr. Sasse said in a telephone interview.


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The first-time candidate, is running in a crowded GOP primary, which in the conservative-leaning state is likely to be the key race to determine who will be Nebraska’s next senator. Other candidates include former state Treasurer Shane Osborne, banker Sid Dinsdale and lawyer Bart McLeay.


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Mr. Sasse ran the 30-second ad as a way to try to get voters to look at his five-minute biographical online video, designed to introduce himself as someone who’s looking to tap into conservative voters’ anger at both parties.


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He shook up the primary field last year by posting stunning fundraising numbers in the third quarter, based on an anti-Obamacare appeal.


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Mr. Sasse told The Washington Times he at first wasn’t sure he wanted to be boiled down to the anti-Obamacare candidate, but he said he quickly discovered voters considered that label a shorthand for candidates who generally believe in constitutional limits and a more humble federal government.


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“Our voters are as fed up with Republicans as they are with Democrats. They don’t think there’s an urgency in either party,” Mr. Sasse said.


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Moving the capital has been debated on Internet history and political science forums for years, with sites in the Midwest being the most frequently mentioned, as a way of being closer to the center of the country, measured either geographically or by location of population.


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The Constitution grants Congress the power to create a federal district, no bigger than 100 square miles, to host the capital.


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Thanks to a deal struck in the first Washington administration, the capital, which was in New York at the time, was given to Philadelphia for 10 years while a permanent home was built on the banks of the Potomac River, between Maryland and Virginia.


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Mr. Sasse ran the 30-second ad as a way to try to get voters to look at his five-minute biographical Web video designed to introduce himself as someone who’s looking to tap into conservative voters’ anger at both parties.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Eye-popping excuses in American political scandals