Gov. Dave Heineman says it might take a couple of weeks before he names a new Lt. Governor to replace Lavon Heidemann, who resigned.
Heineman says it will take time to react to the unusual circumstances that led to a vacancy in the office.
“First of all, it was unexpected. Secondly, you have a unique situation with about 110 days to go and yet my sense is we still need have to have a lieutenant governor,” Heineman tells reporters when asked about the lieutenant governor search. “There is a statutory requirement. So, like I say, it’s going to take a couple of weeks given these circumstances who it should be.”
Heidemann resigned both as Lt. Governor and as a candidate for Lt. Governor on Republican Pete Ricketts’ ticket after his sister received a protection order against him following a heated family dispute over their father’s estate and their mother’s medical treatment.
Ricketts replaced Heidemann immediately with state Auditor Mike Foley.
Heineman has yet to announce a replacement for Heidemann.
Heineman says there are two key deadlines looming.
“November 4th, because on November 4th will be the election and we’ll have a governor-elect. Yet, we continue to serve all the way through January 7th until the new governor is sworn in on January 8th,” Heineman says. “But, you know, from November 5th until January 8th we’re very much going to be in a transition mode that we’re going to be assisting the governor-elect.”
The governor declined to describe the type of person he is seeking. He says the compressed time frame for service would likely rule out anyone with a full-time job. He says he is not considering appointing anyone from his staff to the position.
Could he just leave the position vacant, with the election a little more than a month away?
Heineman says he doesn’t consider not appointing a replacement an option.
“The challenge, I think, in order to be very candid, is the statute does require appointing a lieutenant governor,” according to Heineman. “We do have a chain of command: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, (and) Speaker of the Legislature. And so I think we ought to continue to fulfill that requirement.”