LINCOLN — Gov. Dave Heineman passed up the opportunity to seek a different political office this year.
The deadline for current officeholders to file as candidates passed Wednesday without Heineman joining an already crowded Republican field for U.S. Senate.
Speculation had swirled for months about Heineman jumping into the race, even though the governor repeatedly said he was happy in his current position.
Meanwhile, activist Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska and a Hastings school board member, decided not to seek a seat in the Legislature. She had been suggested as a candidate against appointed State Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings.
Most other top state officials did file as candidates to keep their jobs.
That includes the state's three Republican congressional incumbents — Reps. Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith — and all 17 state lawmakers not subject to term limits.
But there will be guaranteed turnover on the State Board of Education and the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Newcomers will fill three of the four seats on the Board of Regents that are up for election this year.
Regent Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons recently abandoned his bid for re-election so he could seek the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, while Regents Randy Ferlic of Omaha and Jim McClurg of Lincoln decided earlier against seeking additional six-year terms.
Two familiar faces will leave the State Board of Education.
Bob Evnen of Lincoln decided against re-election. Jim Scheer of Norfolk filed to run for the District 19 legislative seat instead.
That seat is now held by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk, who is barred by term limits from running again.
The full field of candidates will not be known until March 1, the deadline for nonofficeholders to file.
Already it's clear that two state senators appointed to office will face tough races to keep their seats.
Three people so far have filed to challenge Sen. Paul Lambert of Plattsmouth for the District 2 seat, including Robyn Larson of Weeping Water, mother of Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill.
Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins will have at least two opponents for the District 17 seat.
World-Herald staff writers Leslie Reed and Joe Dejka contributed to this report.
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