Congressman Jeff Fortenberry says he is considering running for higher office, but hasn’t made a decision yet.
Fortenberry says the decision by Sen. Mike Johanns to retire after his term ends next year took him by surprise.
“I went into his office in 1997, as a young businessman in Lincoln and expressed an interest in running for the city council. We’ve been serving together really ever since,” Fortenberry tells Nebraska Radio Network. “He was mayor then. I went on to serve a term on the council. He went on to be governor. Then, I came to Congress. He became Secretary of Agriculture. We were sitting across the table from one another in agricultural deliberations and then he went on to Senate. So, he has been a good friend for a very long time.”
Fortenberry says the biggest factor to consider is whether his family supports the move.
“So, no decision has been made, but I did express an openness to considering the possibility,” Fortenberry says.
Fortenberry’s name has been floated about possible candidates for United States Senate, but also for governor.
“So many doors have been thrown wide open and it’s interesting the number of people who do comment about both of those possibilities,” Fortenberry says. “But, given that I’m in the legislative branch of government, it was more natural for me to take a look at the Senate race.”
Gov. Dave Heineman must leave the office, due to term limits. He is considering whether to run for Senate to succeed Johanns. Fortenberry acknowledges what Heineman decides will have a big impact on the race. He insists, though, he will make a decision independent of what anyone else might decide.