Republican Voters Weigh Candidates in Crowded Races


No Heineman, no Johanns -- for the first time in a long time, Nebraska voters go to the polls with wide open races.

Sixty days and counting, will it be Pete Ricketts or Mike Foley or Jon Bruning or any of six Republicans running for governor in the most crowded race in recent history.

"It's a very unique time," Hall County GOP Chair Marty Klein said. "I'm 42 and my life in Nebraska, this is a very unique time for the state of Nebraska."

Fifteen Republicans are running for just three seats: governor, senate, and attorney general.

Klein said, "I believe it's always a good thing to have as many choices, as many candidates as we can get , exciting time for the Republican party right now."

With Governor Dave Heineman's unprecedented 10 year run coming to a close and Sen. Mike Johanns retiring, it has created wide open races across the board.

It also prompted Attorney General Jon Bruning to run for governor.

Four Republicans want to be the top prosecutor, including a couple with central Nebraska ties.

Doug Peterson said, "I bring the most experience, 28 years of practicing, two years in the county attorney's office in North Platte, three years in the Attorney General's office working for Bob Spire."

Then there's Deweese native Brian Buescher. He said, "I'm a native of south central Nebraska, I understand rural issues, I understand agriculture and ag is lifeblood of our state."

Throw in competitive local races and voters have a lot of homework to do. That's why a local Grand Island GOP meeting had more than twice the normal turnout.

Klein said, "People are wanting to get information and showing up today to listen to this slate of candidates, they're trying to figure out who they're going to vote for."

Klein, the local GOP chair says Republicans will get behind the winners in the primary, but until then, candidates will try to separate themselves from the crowd.

He said, "Many of them pledge they're not going to take things negative, I don't foresee our candidates being negative with each other, they're just going to distinguish themselves."

The Democrats have challengers too, ready to face the Republicans who advance from the primary.

To learn about all the candidates, visit the Politics Page from NTV News.