Ah, those crazy days of the 2012 campaign. We were all so young and vibrant. Seems like just last week we were all voting and stuff. But it’s all just a hazy memory now.
Because the 2014 Nebraska Governor’s race has begun.
Oh, it has been going on since last year at least, sure. But today Nebraska Legislature Speaker Mike Flood kicks things off in his hometown of Norfolk, and at least one other campaign has been ratcheting it up for a while now.
First to Flood. Things for the Speaker will be headed up by politico Jessica Moenning, coming off the successful Deb Fischer campaign. (Hey, didn’t we see Flood in a Deb Fischer commercial or two? Hmm.) Moenning and her husband Josh (of the Rep. Jeff Fortenberry office) live just a few doors down from Flood in Norfolk and will likely be hiring a manager to handle the day to day.
Also on Team Flood is Beth Kramer, wife of new NEGOP committeeman David Kramer. She will be the Flood Finance Director. Also Natalie Peetz, a lobbyist for Kiewit and others, is one of Floods biggest cheerleaders — and Flood should likely have many others in the lobbying community on his side.
And then there is Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy who long ago (July 2011) began organizing his campaign (for ground game as well as requirement reasons).
Heading up Team Sheehy is Dean Dennhardt. Dennhardt was Governor Dave Heineman’s 2010 Finance Director and has a long history in NEGOP politics, including time as Mike Johanns’ money man.
Dennhardt will likely be behind hiring the campaign’s manager, though expect (some say potentially heavy) day to day involvement from Governor Dave Heineman himself. The Gov stated quite some time back that he is behind Sheehy, and he may be willing to put down all of his political capital on his Lieutenant.
The OWH also throws out State Senator Charlie Janssen’s name as someone who is “seriously considering” a run. With two heavyweights in the race, and looking back at the 2012 Senate primary, you could certainly see a third campaign seeking the Deb Fischer path between the 400 pound gorillas. Could Janssen be that person?
Could someone else? The OWH obligingly puts Jon Bruning’s and Don Stenberg’s names into the fray. Absolutely possible, yeah? Gotta be an Omahan in that mix of Norfolkinan, Hastingser and Fremontian candidates, right?
And the OWH lists State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons as possible candidates on the Dem side (if you’re into that sort of thing). Lathrop is really not “possible” as much as he is exceedingly likely. What will be interesting is to see whether the Dems have themselves an actual primary instead of just crowning their candidate. When was their last worthwhile Democrat primary for a statewide office anyway? 1990? (Someone help us out here, because all of a sudden that is an interesting question here at the L.St. HQ.)
But if there are enough candidates in the fray, one would think that some outliers could take the lay of the land and wait until summer of 2013, or so to make a decision/announcement. We are sure there are plenty who would say that’s too late. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see someone wait until then and it’s not as if the public has any appetite for the two-year campaign. It’s really just a matter of rounding up your big donors that “late”.
Fun to watch from a great distance right now.
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