Just call him Nebraska's "Cover Boy."
And call it official: Republican Ben Sasse is the undisputed darling among some of the nation's most highly visible conservative groups in Washington, D.C.
The latest proof? Sasse made the cover of this week's National Review. The Midland University president is pictured in a winter field under the headline "Obamacare's Nebraska Nemesis."
The magazine, which is a must-read for conservatives in the Beltway, also dubs Sasse a "Rising Conservative Star."
Sasse is one of four Nebraskans running to succeed U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns. So far, he has been embraced by several sought-after conservative groups, including Club for Growth and the Senate Conservative Fund. He's also been given favorable treatment by some of the nation's most conservative publications. For example, The Drudge Report has given Sasse's political videos and statements plum positions on its conservative web site.
Many of Sasse's political connections date back to his years working under former President George W. Bush, as a top health care adviser. He has also earned a reputation as a health care expert. For more than four years, he's been on the lecture circuit, advising hospitals and others on what to expect from health care reform under President Obama's administration.
For the record, Sasse may be winning the race on the national front, but in Nebraska he is still in for a competitive ride. Many political observers continue to believe that former State Treasurer Shane Osborn is the frontrunner in the race based, in large part, on Osborn's extensive circles in Republican politics in Nebraska and early polls that show Osborn with a lead.
In addition, there are two other candidates in the field who are raising money and crisscrossing the state. Both Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale and Omaha attorney Bart McLeay are working hard. And, most assuredly, Dinsdale will have the money to invest in the race and compete in the upcoming television advertising wars.
As for what's in the magazine article, that remains unknown. No advance copy was available Thursday. We'll all have to wait until Friday, when the magazine hits the newsstands and the Internet.
Not even Sasse's camp got an advanced copy, said Tyler Grassmeyer, Sasse's campaign manager.
However, Grassmeyer didn't have to read the article to be thrilled with his guy's placement. He noted that the magazine's headline underscores their key message: that Sasse is the "one guy" in the race who can go to Washington and "dismantle" the Affordable Care Act.
He also noted that Sasse's profile comes on the heels of two other Republicans being profiled recently in the National Review: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
"Ben has the potential to go to the U.S. Senate and be a national leader for Nebraska and the country," said Grassmeyer.