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Heidemann announced this morning he had resigned as lieutenant governor and withdrawn from the Ricketts ticket.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.]