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Posts in "Neb. Senate"
May 15, 2013
As he contemplates a bid for Senate, the GOP’s top recruit — Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman — is engaging some former governors who made the same transition.
The shift from a state’s head honcho to being one of 100 is unique. The slow-moving gears and partisanship of the Senate can be frustrating for a former chief executive.
Still, they constitute about one-tenth of the Senate in the 113th Congress. That includes Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns, whose retirement next year after one term in the Senate has led to the heavy recruitment of Heineman.
“The Governor has had several positive and productive conversations with former Governors who went on to be U.S. Senators,” Heineman spokeswoman Jen Rae Hein told CQ Roll Call. “The Governor appreciates these conversations, and has found them to be insightful and valuable as he continues to contemplate his decision. Every indication is that the Governor will make his decision within the next month’s time frame.”
April 18, 2013
If Reps. Steve King, Jeff Fortenberry and Nick J. Rahall II are serious about running for Senate, their campaign fundraising does not show it.
Several House members eyeing Senate bids posted meager numbers, according to Roll Call’s Senate fundraising chart for the first quarter.
In general, members raise major cash to show their political force if they are seriously weighing jumping into a Senate race. For example, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., had raised $525,000 by the end of the first quarter this year, days before he announced he would challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.
Here are a few House candidates who haven’t taken their names out of the mix when it comes to potential Senate bids and who reported lackluster hauls:
March 4, 2013
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, one of several Republicans considered potential candidates for the state’s open Senate seat, will forgo a bid for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat.
Bruning said he will seek re-election next year and described a Senate campaign as “extremely unlikely,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Several Republicans continue to mull bids for this GOP-held Senate seat including, most notably, Gov. Dave Heineman, who earlier expressed interest in running but has not announced a decision yet. Full story
February 25, 2013
Republican state Auditor Mike Foley announced last week that he is considering a number of options for his political future.
He is currently mulling runs for the Senate, governor’s office, the House or another term as state auditor.
“All those options are being discussed and prayed about and thought about,” he told Nebraska Radio Network.
A House seat would open up if Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry decides to run for the Senate. Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost Senate bids in 2012; Republican Reps. Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; businessman Pete Ricketts; and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn.
This is an open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns; CQ Roll Call rates it as Safe Republican.
February 20, 2013
An influential conservative group has warned its members about a potential Senate bid from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.
The Senate Conservatives Fund declared, “BEWARE OF FORTENBERRY,” in a Wednesday email.
“Congressman Fortenberry has a big-spending voting record in the House of Representatives and is not the kind of fiscal conservative we need in the U.S. Senate,” the group’s executive director, Matt Hoskins, wrote in the email. “In fact, he received a dismal 51% rating in the latest Heritage Action for America scorecard.”
Fortenberry already publicly acknowledged his interest in running for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat. But Nebraska Republicans are waiting for Gov. Dave Heineman to make a decision about the seat. They say the governor would clear the field if he ran for Johanns’ seat.
In the meantime, ambitious Republicans are making preparations if Heineman does not run. The race could pit more establishment-backed Republicans against grass-roots-supported, more conservative candidates.
“It’s going to be the Wild West if the governor decides not to run,”said Jordan McGrain, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party.
Former Nebraska state Treasurer Shane Osborn, a decorated naval aviator, said he is “undoubtedly interested” in running for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns.
In a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call, Osborn said he has received many encouraging calls to run since Johanns shocked Nebraska Republicans with his retirement announcement Monday.
Republicans see Gov. Dave Heineman as their most formidable candidate for Johanns’ seat, and many potentials candidates are waiting for him to decide before they make a move on the race. A spokeswoman for Heineman told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday email, “The Governor is taking a very serious look at it.”
Other names on the GOP radar include state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, who both lost bids for Senate in 2012; plus the state’s three House members, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and Lee Terry; and businessman Pete Ricketts.
Fortenberry already acknowledged his interest in the race.
Osborn became famous in 2001 when, as a naval aviator, a plane he piloted collided with a Chinese plane in international waters.
CQ Roll Call rates this as a Safe Republican seat.
February 18, 2013
Updated 4:46 p.m. | Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman will take “a few days” to consider a run to succeed fellow Republican Sen. Mike Johanns, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Heineman would be the heavy front-runner if he decided to enter the race to succeed Johanns, who surprised politicos in Washington, D.C., and Nebraska when he announced his retirement plans on Monday.
“As far as Senate, it’s a little different situation this time [than in 2011],” Heineman told the newspaper. One major difference? He is term-limited at the end of his current term that ends in 2014.
He added that he has never “indicated that being in the Senate is my dream job.”
Given the governor’s previous reluctance to run, other potential candidates aren’t waiting for Heineman’s decision to announce they are weighing the race.
“I will consider a run for the United States Senate,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry said in a statement on Monday. “I will listen to Nebraskans, explore the questions of how I might most effectively serve, and weigh the demands of such an endeavor with my family.” Full story
Updated 1:08 p.m. | Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, who was a safe bet to win a second term in 2014, announced Monday that he would forgo re-election.
“With everything in life, there is a time and a season. At the end of this term, we will have been in public service over 32 years,” Johanns wrote in an email to constituents co-signed with his wife, Stephanie. “Between the two of us, we have been on the ballot for primary and general elections 16 times and we have served in eight offices. It is time to close this chapter of our lives.”
Republicans are heavily favored to hold the open seat in the conservative state.
Nebraska GOP Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited from seeking re-election in 2014 and is considered a likely candidate in the race to replace Johanns. The governor has the right of first refusal, and if he runs he would be the “400-pound gorilla” in the race, according to state GOP strategist Sam Fischer. Most other Republicans would likely defer to him.
“My guess is that he’s not going to be in a rush” to make a decision, Fischer said of Heineman.
If Heineman doesn’t run, the GOP faces the prospect of a crowded and bruising primary. “There’s no shortage of people,” Fischer said of a field of prospective GOP candidates. Full story
November 28, 2012
But that’s exactly how things looked two years before the 2012 elections, when Democrats surprised many with victories in Missouri and North Dakota on their way to picking up two seats. So the challenge for the GOP and incoming National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas is to capitalize on their opportunities.
That and how voters feel about President Barack Obama in 2014 could determine how the parties fare at the ballot box less than two years from now. Democrats won their current majority in 2006, in the second midterm election under President George W. Bush.
Republicans are hoping Obama’s second midterm is similarly kind to them, if not equal to the president’s 2010 midterm shellacking, when the GOP won seven seats (and control of the House) despite beginning the cycle as the underdog.
November 3, 2012
Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, today endorsed state Sen. Deb Fischer in the open-seat Nebraska Senate race against former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).
“Deb Fischer is an effective legislator who will promote economic competitiveness and private sector growth and will change the current standstill in Washington,” Rice said in a news release from the Republican’s campaign. “Her fresh perspective will allow her to be a leader in Congress and I’m proud to stand with her in this important race.”
Fischer, who is in a tightening race with Kerrey, was happy to receive Rice’s backing.
“I have deep respect and admiration for Dr. Rice, and I’m truly honored to have her support,” Fischer said in the release. “Dr. Rice understands the importance of maintaining American exceptionalism by advancing our nation’s domestic and international interests.”
Rice’s endorsement of Fischer comes after Kerrey has racked up several notable endorsements, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). Fischer is still favored to win the seat, which is being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.
November 1, 2012
Nebraskans should send former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) back to the Senate on Tuesday because he has a history of working across the aisle and would help end partisan gridlock, former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel said today in endorsing his former colleague.
Some polls have shown the race between Kerrey and Republican Deb Fischer tightening in recent days.
Hagel, who stressed that he is still a Republican, noted that Kerrey has also received endorsements from other Republican former Senators, including Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who co-chaired a commission that proposed cutting the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years. Kerrey has also won the support from New Hampshire’s Warren Rudman, who helped draft the 1980s budget agreement known as the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Full story
October 30, 2012
The Republican-affiliated sister groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS will begin a massive $10.5 million Senate ad blitz today and Wednesday, blanketing competitive Senate races, including those in Maine, Montana and New Mexico, with hard-hitting attack ads.
With control of the Senate in the balance, the deep-pocketed groups are making a concerted final push to help put GOP candidates over the line.
The ads that begin today are in the following Senate races:
October 29, 2012
The bipartisan leaders of President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction commission today endorsed former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) in his uphill bid against GOP candidate Deb Fischer for the open Nebraska Senate seat.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles “are supporting Bob Kerrey because he has told Nebraskans the honest truth about the critical necessity of assuring the 75 year solvency of the Social Security system, and stabilizing Medicare and Medicaid in a way that preserves and strengthens the needed protections for seniors and the most vulnerable in our society,” Simpson said in a statement released by the Kerrey campaign. Full story
October 17, 2012
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) weighed in on the Nebraska Senate race today, with respective endorsements of GOP hopeful Deb Fischer and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D).
“I’m proud to support Deb Fischer in this important election for U.S. Senate,” McCain said in a release on Fischer’s campaign website. “She has the character and commitment to change Washington.”
“She will work to eliminate wasteful spending, balance the budget, and grow the private sector economy,” McCain’s statement continued. “Facing an ever-growing debt, we need fiscally conservative leadership like Deb’s in the U.S. Senate to get our nation back on the right track.” Full story
September 28, 2012
Looking to make up ground, Democratic Nebraska Senate nominee Bob Kerrey attacked Republican candidate Deb Fischer on her support of a balanced budget amendment in their second debate today.
“I do worry about this balanced budget amendment,” said Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and U.S. Senator. “It’s going to have a terrible impact on Nebraska.”
“We are not going to be able to invest in our universities. We are not going to be able to provide the Pell grants that our students need. We are not going to be able to have the kind of research that needs to occur to develop” partnerships with private-sector businesses, he said. Full story