LINCOLN — One state senator, Charlie Janssen of Fremont, is expected on Monday to announce his plans to run for governor, while another lawmaker, Steve Lathrop of Omaha, said he's very seriously considering the race.
The contest for the governor's job in 2014 was thrown wide open by the recent resignation of Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who had been considered the front-runner and has already returned the $200,000 in campaign donations he had amassed.
Janssen, a 42-year-old Republican, said recently that he wants to run for the post, which will be vacated by Gov. Dave Heineman because of term limits. He will make his announcement at noon Monday at Midland University in Fremont.
Janssen, who was elected in November to his second four-year term in the Legislature, has been an advocate for tougher immigration laws but has been unsuccessful in getting such legislation passed. He has also pushed requirements that voters present identification at polling places, and is seeking to rescind a law passed last year that provides state-funded prenatal care for the unborn children of illegal immigrants.
Janssen is the majority owner of a company that provides temporary health care workers for hospitals and other medical institutions. He is married and has three children.
Lathrop, a 55-year-old Democrat, said he is taking a serious look at running for governor.
An attorney and chairman of the Legislature's Business and Labor Committee, Lathrop has helped mediate such matters as collective bargaining and stem-cell research. He also led a special committee that addressed the troubled Beatrice State Developmental Center.
The senator said he has decided against a run for U.S. Congress in Omaha's 2nd Congressional District because he feels he could have more impact as governor.
Lathrop said he plans to make a final decision this spring.
Another Democrat, Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons, a former member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, has expressed interest in the race.
On the Republican side, Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln has stated his interest in the race, and State Treasurer Don Stenberg has said he is reconsidering a run in light of Sheehy's withdrawal.
Contact the writer: 402-473-9584, firstname.lastname@example.org