Several weeks ago I wrote an article for this blog suggesting that democratic candidates for Governor keep their powder dry this cycle. In fairness to me, that article was written prior to the withdrawal of Senator Flood and the untimely demise of Lt. Gov. Sheehy either of which who would have been formidable candidates and who, in my humble opinion, would have been nearly impossible to defeat in an open seat fight for the Governor’s Office. Their exit from the race leaves a wide open race that begs for a strong candidate or candidates on the democratic side of the ballot. In no particular order then, are the following folks that should be looking hard at occupying the governor’s office. Each has strengths that would be a great asset to the office and all have demonstrated a get it done attitude that would serve all Nebraskans well.
Chuck Hassebrook, a former regent of many years who because of a quirk in our election law resulted in his losing his seat at that table. He leads the Center for Rural Affairs and has a great grasp of issues facing Nebraska both urban and rural. He is a hard worker who wants a better life for every Nebraskan and would run because of his sense of service and duty.
Steve Lathrop, a current State Senator and chairman of the Business and Labor Committee. While many folk in the Omaha area are pushing the Senator to challenge Lee Terry for his Congressional seat as someone who lives in greater Nebraska a person like Steve would be a solid choice for the whole state not just the Second Congressional District. Whichever seat he seeks he needs to continue his service.
Chris Buetler, the current Mayor of Lincoln. Chris has done a good job of running our second largest city. He has a sense of what it takes to get consensus to get things done. As a former State Senator he also understands state government. While he ran for governor once many years ago I would argue the timing is much better for him this time around.
Annette Dubas, also a current State Senator. Annette is actually my first choice to run against Adrian Smith for his seat representing the 3rd Congressional District whose only legislative legacy is that we can shoot fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Alas, she has made it clear to many that she is not interested in going to Washington. Perhaps we can convince her then to stay in Lincoln and simply move into a bigger house. A tireless worker, who against all odds, got herself elected and reelected in a very “red” part of the state. She got elected due to her hard work in campaigning. She got reelected because of her hard work representing her district.
This cycle has completely changed. The names I am hearing on the Republican side of the aisle now that Senator Flood and Lt. Gov. Sheehy are out make me very optimistic that the right Democrat can change history and get elected to an open seat for Governor. The folks above need to give the office a good hard look as any of them would make an excellent Governor. I’m sure that there may be others that will take a look and I hope they do. The last time the democrats won the Governor’s office it was after a spirited primary it’s time for a spirited primary once again.