We area hearing word (that has been swirling around the capitol for a while now), that state Senator Chris Langemeier is seriously considering challenging Representative Jeff Fortenberry for the GOP nomination in Nebraska’s new 1st district.
We were, at first, perplexed as to why he would dive into this race. We have heard others suggest that Langemeier would definitely want to run for Congress if Fort ran for Senate (more likely under the “Nelson doesn’t run” scenario). But why challenge Fortenberry in a primary?
Well, we really don’t know about his positioning on the issues. We do know that Fortenberry was very recently listed as the 11th most independent member of the House — most likely to go against his party’s leadership. And then there was Fort’s compliments the other day for President Obama’s Mideast speech, where POTUS suggested that Israel move back to the 1967 borders. Fort didn’t’ comment on that particular issue — but his silence has made some question where he stands on it.
On the other hand, Fortenberry is generally considered a reliable Republican, has a conservative record, and is generally well liked by the Israeli lobby folks.
So, if Langemeier is really planning to run, maybe it isn’t just philosophical, but a political gamble.
Langemeier, from Schuyler (Colfax County), has (reportedly) been working to strengthen the (his) GOP base outside of Lincoln. And then there is the fact there will be plenty of GOP voters in the new 1st District — particularly in places like Bellevue and Columbus — who have never voted for Fortenberry.
Langemeier may figure that their votes are up for grabs, and this is is best chance to win a Congressional race before Fortenberry becomes completely entrenched.
And if Langemeier does get in, and could succeed at taking down Fort, would that encourage an electable Democrat to get into the 1st District race? The mind boggles!
At this point, we don’t know whether Langemeier is gung-ho, for sure, or not.
But a surprising run by him could shake the Nebraska GOP to it’s core for a few months — with a divisive GOP Senate primary building up as well. Campaigners at the ready!
We don’t suppose you commenters have any thoughts…
A response from Chris Langemeier to Leavenworth Street:
Thank you for the question and for your interest in my political future. With every election cycle comes speculation about who may or may not have political ambitions. It truly has been a pleasure to serve the citizens of Nebraska by representing the 23rd Legislative District, and I look forward to serving in the final year of my term.
I was grateful for my colleagues’ confidence in my abilities when they voted to make me the chairperson of the Natural Resources Committee, and this session, the chairperson of the Redistricting Committee. Each role has given me the opportunity to work on some of the state’s toughest issues, and it has been a privilege to lead in those positions.
To serve in Congress would take a great deal of support from my family and the citizens of the 1st Congressional District. I am humbled by the thought that anyone would want me to serve in Congress, representing this state that is so dear to me and my entire family. Again, thank you for asking about my future, but I am focused and looking forward to finishing the term for which I have been elected.
Wait, was that a “no”?