Ben Sasse’s big Iowa tease

Ben Sasse wanted to be perfectly clear about what he was doing in Iowa smack dab in the dead of summer.

And it’s not what you’re thinking.

“It’s not because I’m looking for a job,” he told a gathering of about 120 Republicans inside a modest reception and catering hall on Friday evening. “It’s because I’m paying back a debt.”

Last fall, the freshman Nebraska senator placed a playful wager with a friendly conservative reporter that his home state Cornhuskers would defeat the Iowa Hawkeyes in college football. Nebraska lost. So in order to make good on his word with Independent Journal Review’s Benny Johnson, Sasse was tasked with driving an Uber in the state that just happens to kick off the race for the presidency.

It also just so happened that the Story County Republican Party was in need of a speaker for its annual summer fundraising dinner the very same weekend Sasse’s daughters were competing in a Des Moines triathlon. The other two headliner options — Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Iowa’s own Sen. Joni Ernst — weren’t available and Sasse’s team was the first to respond to the invite.