Gov. Dave Heineman isn’t up for re-election this year.
In fact, the governor cannot run for re-election again. But, he’s visible on the campaign trail nonetheless.
Heineman has injected himself in several legislative races this fall, campaigning for candidates he says shares his general beliefs.
Heineman, the former executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, sees no problem in campaigning for candidates for the officially non-partisan Unicameral.
“I’m looking, again, for someone who generally shares my philosophy,” Heineman tells reporters. “And that’s to be a fiscal conservative, that understands the need to control our spending, but invest in our most important priorities, which are education and jobs, who’s going to oppose higher taxes.”
Heineman is in the middle of his second and final term as governor.
The governor has been active in at least eight legislative campaigns, stumping for candidates that share his beliefs.
“I never expect any senator to agree with me on every single issue, but certainly you look for someone who shares your common beliefs, your value system and they’re probably with you, say, 90% of the time,” according to Heineman.
Heineman has helped in a number of ways. He has contributed at least $6,000 to individual candidates and has contributed $90,000 to the Nebraska Republican Party to help with campaigns. Heineman has attended fund-raising events for candidates. He has endorsed candidates. He has even recorded radio ads for legislative candidates.
Heineman says one characteristic must stand out. He looks for candidates who listen to the people.
“If we’ve had any success during the eight years I have been governor, it’s because we stay in touch with Nebraskans,” according to Heineman. “We listen to them carefully. Their values, their beliefs are very similar to mine. When you advocate that philosophy it gets very difficult down the hall (in the legislative chamber), I think, for the legislature to oppose that or they’re going to be opposing what Nebraskans want.”
AUDIO: Gov. Heineman discusses campaigning for legislative candidates. [1 min.]