So much for a sleepy news cycle on President’s Day.
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns woke everyone up with his surprise announcement that he won’t seek re-election in 2014. Of course, that set tongues to wagging and Twitterers to tweeting with lots speculation about the impact on Nebraska’s political landscape.
This much we know for sure:
- Gov. Dave Heineman said he will think about running for Johanns’ seat. Here’s what he told The World-Herald’s political reporter, Robynn Tysver. If he does get in, it at least raises the question about whether he might leave the mansion early to focus on a campaign.
- State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont officially announced Monday he’s running as a GOP candidate for governor.
- University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln said Monday he’s not going to run for governor. The Republican was considered a strong contender, in part, because of his friendship with Heineman.
And for some maybes:
- Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, a Republican, recently cracked open the door to a gubernatorial bid. As a past candidate for Senate, you can’t rule out the possibility that he’ll give that race a look, too.
- Other GOP names bandied about: Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley, Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts, Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, former Bayard Sen. Phil Erdmann.
- What about Lavon Heidemann, appointed as Lieutenant Governor just last week? The governor said he would only appoint someone for the job who wasn’t interested in running for governor, so as to not unfairly handicap the race so close to the election. What if the governor leaves early to run for Senate? Are all bets — and political agreements — off?
- Republican Attorney General Jon Bruning said in January he’s happy with his current job. But a lot has changed since then. Most think he’s thinking about it.
- Some Democratic names bandied about: Former NU Regent Chuck Hassebrook and Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop are said to be giving the race serious consideration. Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler (a former state senator) and Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton also are mentioned.