September 15, 2014

Heineman for president becomes issue in NU Board of Regent’s race

Gov. Dave Heineman’s candidacy for president of the University of Nebraska has become an issue in the campaign for the Board of Regents.

Pawnee City business owner, Steve Glenn, is running against incumbent Rob Schaefer, a Beatrice attorney, in District 5.

Rob Schaefer was appointed to the board by Governor Heineman, but stated during a Regent debate in Beatrice that that doesn’t mean he will vote for Heineman to be university president.

Schaefer said the board must pick the best person, period.

“Continue to work to bring in the highest caliber person that we can to serve as the president of the University of Nebraska,” Schaefer stated. “Regardless of who that person is, I think it’s got to be someone who’s going to be a difference-maker.”

But, Glenn said when Heineman made public his candidacy, it caused other would-be candidates to start asking who contributed to whom and who appointed whom.

“And those questions are in people’s heads that are great candidates and they can count numbers,” Glenn stated.

Glenn says Heineman isn’t qualified to be the next president.

J. B. Milliken left NU after ten years to become the new chancellor at the City University of New York, the country’s third largest public university system.

Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this article.

Ricketts says running mate switch ultimately won’t matter much (AUDIO)

Pete Ricketts speaks at a news conference with Mike Foley to his left

Pete Ricketts speaks at a news conference with Mike Foley to his left

Republican candidate for governor Pete Ricketts says he’s pleased the Secretary of State has allowed him to remove Lavon Heidemann from the November ballot and add Mike Foley.

Ricketts requested the change after Heidemann withdrew from the race. Ricketts replaced Heidemann with Foley, the state auditor.

Ricketts says, ultimately, it doesn’t matter much.

“I’m the one who’s still at the front of the ticket here. My name’s still going to be on the ballot,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “We’re fortunate to get a good ruling from (the) Secretary of State about getting Mike on the ballot as well so voters would know who they’re actually voting for in November.”

Secretary of State John Gale ruled Ricketts had a constitutional right to change the name of his running mate on the ballot even though the September first deadline has passed. Democrat Chuck Hassebrook has stated he will not challenge the decision in court.

Heidemann withdrew from the ticket and resigned as lieutenant governor after his sister received a protection order against him in wake of a family dispute of their father’s restate and their mother’s medical care.

Ricketts doesn’t believe the switch will make much difference in November.

He says few have brought up the issue as he and Foley campaign at Husker Harvest Days near Grand Island.

“At the end of the day, voters were concerned about what are you going to do for them, their families, their communities and that’s what this campaign has been about from the beginning.”

Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this article.

Hassebrook says Lt. Gov. mess should be factor in governor race (AUDIO)

Chuck Hassebrook

Chuck Hassebrook

Democrat Chuck Hassebrook asserts the resignation of Lavon Heidemann as lieutenant governor and as Republican Pete Ricketts’ running mate should weigh on voters’ minds when they go to the polls in November.

Heidemann resigned from office and withdrew from the Republican gubernatorial campaign after his sister received a protection order against him following a family dispute.

Republican candidate for governor, Pete Ricketts, replaced Heidemann with state Auditor Mike Foley.

Hassebrook, the Democratic candidate for governor, says the Heidemann resignation adds to what he sees as a disturbing pattern in state government.

“It’s the second lieutenant governor to resign in as many years,” Hassebrook points out during an interview with Nebraska Radio Network. “We’ve had a failure at Health and Human Services to protect the most vulnerable Nebraskans and a profound disregard for public safety and the letter of the law at the department of corrections.”

Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy was asked to step down after cell phone records emerged disclosing that he had had numerous phone calls with women, none of whom were his wife.

The Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire for mismanagement of federal funds and other problems. The Department of Correctional Services miscalculated the prison sentences of hundreds of inmates.

Hassebrook says all of that reflects a disintegration of integrity in state government.

“And I think it’s a critical time for us to elect a governor who will restore integrity; who will take responsibility.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

Sec. of State Gale: Ricketts-Heidemann out, Ricketts-Foley in

Secretary of State John Gale has accepted Pete Ricketts’ request to drop Lavon Heidemann’s name from the Republican gubernatorial ticket and replace it with Mike Foley.

Ricketts replaced Heidemann with Foley after Heidemann resigned as lieutenant governor and withdrew as the lieutenant governor nominee. Heidemann made the decision after his sister received a protection order against him in wake of a heated family dispute. Foley is the state Auditor.

The Secretary of State’s office says Gale received Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann’s declination yesterday as the running mate in the Republican campaign for governor. He also received the filing of Foley.

Gale acknowledged that state statue sets a deadline of September 1 to remove candidates from the statewide ballot. Gale, though, said that it was his duty as chief election administrator to supervise the conduct of elections in the state to insure the accuracy of the ballot and prevent voter confusion.

“In addition, a gubernatorial candidate has the sole constitutional right to designate his or her running mate for the ballot. This constitutional right must be heavily weighed against any statutory deadline,” Gale said in a written statement released by his office.

The ballot for the November 4th election has yet to be certified. Gale reasoned that refusing to accept Ricketts’ request could be viewed as a direct violation of his constitutional right to choose a running mate.

“There is no issue of greater importance than ensuring the accurate reflection of candidates on the ballot,” Gale said. “And for that reason, I feel compelled to act.”

Ricketts chooses Foley to replace Heidemann on ticket (AUDIO)

GOP candidate for governor, Pete Ricketts, introduces state Auditor Mike Foley as his new running mate

GOP candidate for governor, Pete Ricketts, introduces state Auditor Mike Foley as his new running mate

Republican candidate for governor Pete Ricketts has chosen a veteran of state government as his new running mate.

Ricketts chose State Auditor Mike Foley to replace Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann, who withdrew from the ticket.

“Last night, I received a call from Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann, informing me that he was going to be resigning as lieutenant governor and withdrawing his candidacy from the campaign,” Ricketts said during a news conference at the Nebraska Republican Party headquarters in Lincoln. “I received the news with great sadness, as Lavon’s a friend. He’s been a dedicated public servant for over 10 years, serving with distinction and integrity and he has my gratitude.”

Heidemann announced this morning he had resigned as lieutenant governor and withdrawn from the Ricketts ticket. The decision came after a judge granted his sister a protection order against him, following a family dispute over his father’s estate and the medical treatment of his mother.

Ricketts moved quickly to replace Heidemann.

“Just a few months ago, Mike and I were competitors. Today, we’re teammates,” Ricketts announced, introducing Foley as his candidate for lieutenant governor.

Ricketts won the crowded Republican primary in which Foley was a contender. Foley finished fourth. Now, he is a candidate for Lt. Governor.

“This morning, I received a call from Pete Ricketts asking me if I would consider the possibility of running with him as his running mate for the position of lieutenant governor,” Foley stated. “I didn’t bat an eyelash. It was a great honor and a privilege to receive that phone call.”

Democrats criticized Ricketts for the way he handled the Lt. Gov. Heidemann controversy.

Nebraska Democratic Party Executive Director Dan Marvin issued this written statement:

“Pete Ricketts has failed miserably and shown an extreme lack of leadership in his choice for Lt. Governor. Ricketts knew of these allegations in time to remove Heidemann’s name from the ballot and chose not to act until the domestic protection order was exposed to the public and Lavon Heidemann was forced to resign as current Lt. Governor. Husch Blackwell LLP, who serves as legal counsel for both the Ricketts campaign and Lavon Heidemann, received the petition to file a domestic protection order against the Lt. Governor on Aug, 27th, days before the deadline to pull his name from the ballot.”

Ricketts is running against Democrat Chuck Hassebrook to succeed Gov. Dave Heineman, who must leave office due to term limits.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

AUDIO:  GOP candidate for governor, Pete Ricketts, introduces State Auditor Mike Foley as his new running mate. [4 min.]