Friday, September 03, 2010

Nebraska Governor Race

Race of the Day

Nebraska Governor

September 3, 2010
60 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2008 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

Do not expect much of a contest at all this year in the Cornhusker State. While Democrats crowed in recent years about a "50 State Strategy" and inroads made in conservative states like Nebraska, which even saw Barack Obama win one Electoral Vote, the GOP is back looking pretty dominant this year.

Republican Governor Dave Heineman is one of the nation's most popular, during this time of frequent anti-incumbent sentiment. He has already proven his political drawing power, when, as an incumbent who had been elevated to the office, after his predecessor resigned to become the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, he won as an underdog in a GOP primary against then Congressman and legendary college football coach Tom Osborne.

The Democrats had nominated as their likely sacrificial lamb, investment banker Mark Lakers. Revelations surfaced though about irregularities in his campaign finance reports. Top Democrats called on him to drop out of the race, and after several weeks, he finally gave in to the pressure and ended his bid. That allowed Democrats to select his replacement on the ticket at a state convention. They then choose attorney Mike Meister, who had been the party's losing candidate for Attorney General in 2002. He seems likely to struggle to reach 3o percent in November.

About the only suspense surrounding this race involves what will happen once it is over. The last several Nebraska Governors seem anxious to leave sometime in their second term, and almost all of them seem to wind up in the United States Senate eventually. Already, there is much talk that Heineman is preparing for a run for the Senate against Democrat Ben Nelson in 2012. Polls show he would be favored to win that race too. All of this is probably pleasing to the state's Republican Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy, who may be preparing to move into the Governor's Residence, sooner rather than later.

Heineman campaign link:

2010 Governor elections predicted thus far: 5 D, 15 R
Predicted Gubernatorial totals predicted thus far: 12 D, 21 R