Former Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman kicked up a bit of a storm yesterday on KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln, with host Coby Mach. Mach asked Heineman about his interest in running again for Governor.
Hear it here (at about the 12:00 mark):
Heineman demurred, saying he is happy with his life.
But he went a step further:
“I will say I think (former Nebraska Speaker of the Legislature) Mike Flood would make an outstanding Governor.”
Mach followed up:
“Do you anticipate endorsing Pete Ricketts?’
“I think the Governor’s had some challenges…he needs to work through those…I’m disappointed we haven’t solved the property tax issue here in Nebraska. We made progress on that when I was Governor, but in last few years we let that go by the wayside.”
That certainly wasn’t a “yes”.
(And some would note that it probably wasn’t lost on the former Governor to needle Ricketts while he was mugging with his World Series trophy in the Oval Office on Wednesday…)
So Leavenworth St. dug a little deeper.
It seems that there is definitely an interest out there from Mike Flood. If there is a number on Flood’s interest, some say (purely speculatively at this point) that it is over 50%.
Which is also an interesting number.
Because Leavenworth St. has also heard that there has been some polling of Nebraska GOP likely voters.
And that polling currently shows, Governor Pete Ricketts’ re-elect number, from GOP primary voters, is UNDER 50%.
State that again: fewer than 50% of those polled said they definitely would vote for Ricketts. That’s just a bit shocking in Nebraska’s political climate.
So back to Flood.
You may remember that he dropped out of the 2014 Governor’s race when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After speculation (by Leavenworth St. and others) that he would get back in the race, that obviously never happened, and he continued in the radio business in Norfolk.
Well, jump to 2017, and Flood’s wife Mandi has a clean bill of health.
Flood still has a record as one of the most popular Speakers in recent Nebraska Unicameral history. He could potentially have the support of Nebraska’s longest serving Governors.
And Leavenworth St. has also heard that there are some very powerful groups in Nebraska who could also be behind a Flood candidacy — which groups, we have to play coy on now.
And there’s the surprisingly low Ricketts re-elect numbers.
Does this add up to a Mike Flood challenge of an incumbent Governor, who has already announced his re-election campaign, and has pockets so deep they run to his ankles and down the street?
Not so fast.
A number of other factors would have to be present.
Like, just what sort of support could Flood get to be competitive with the limitless financial resources of the owners of the Chicago Cubs?
It’s not impossible. All the Joe Ricketts cash in the world couldn’t push Pete Ricketts past Ben Nelson in 2006. Then again, Nelson, like Ricketts now, was an incumbent. And that ain’t for nothin’.
And, FWIW, some Democrats are already hoping to see Ricketts go down to give them some sort of a chance at the Governor’s Lincoln McMansion. (Hope springs eternal!)
But things are very fluid.
And Leavenworth St. will keep you updated.
In the mean time, please discuss.
**UPDATE at 2pm!**
Per the LJS:
Flood says he won’t run for governor in 2018
But what about…?
This is such big news, we will save some of the other interesting stuff in the news for Friday morning. It’s not going anywhere.
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