Republicans running for governor and United States Senate will be meeting for a series of debates organized by the party.
The Nebraska Republican Party has scheduled three debates for both the gubernatorial candidates and the senate candidates.
“We have some fabulous candidates for governor and United States Senate and we’re proud of them at the party and really want to showcase them. So, this will be a fun next five or six months,” State Republican Party Chairman J. L. Spray tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Spray says he hopes the debates will cut through the media coverage and campaign rhetoric to help Nebraska Republicans choose their nominee for both 2014 races.
The Republican primary for governor has become crowded. Three state senators, Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Tom Carlson of Holdrege, and Beau McCoy of Omaha, have entered the race along with State Auditor Mike Foley and Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts. Democrats in the race include former Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs Chuck Hassebrook and state Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton.
Term limits prevent Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, from running for re-election.
Republicans running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican, includes former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay, Midland University President Ben Sasse, and Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale.
No Democrats have announced for Senate, yet.
Spray says the two races are important and points out that Nebraska will be the only state in the country with open seats for both U.S. Senate and governor in 2014.
Spray the turmoil in Washington over healthcare illustrates the importance of these races.
“None of this would be going on in Washington today if we would have had a Republican United States Senator instead of (former U.S. Sen.) Ben Nelson in 2010,” Spray says. “We wouldn’t have Obamacare. We wouldn’t have the mess we’re in. We wouldn’t have to making the choices that are being made and struggling through it.”
Nelson, a Democrat, was the deciding vote for the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
A debate will be held in each of the Congressional districts, beginning at the end of January.
The primary election will be held May 13th.
The dates and locations of the debates set by the Nebraska Republican Party are as follows:
Wednesday, February 19 – Papillion LaVista South High School
Sunday, March 23 – Broken Bow – One Box Convention Center
Wednesday, April 23 – Norfolk – Johnny Carson Theatre
Wednesday, January 29 -Gering Civic Center
Tuesday, March 11 – Omaha – UNO Thompson Alumni Center
Monday, April 7 – Lincoln – Champions Club
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]