By Deena Winter and Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN – Sen. Charlie Janssen announced today he is running for governor in 2014.
Janssen made it official today in front of a crowd of about 150 at Midland University in his hometown of Fremont. He didn’t come to the decision lightly saying the country took a wrong turn in 2008 and again in 2012.
Calling himself a plain-spoken guy, the Republican senator said he opposes big government and wants state government that stays out of people’s way. He’s known for his tough stance on illegal immigration and has pushed for legislation requiring people to present identification in order to vote. He’s also pushing to repeal a law passed last session allowing the state to pay for prenatal care for illegal immigrants.
The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Vince Powers, has been skewering Janssen and Republicans for moving farther to the right, saying in a statement today, “With Johanns’ retirement, the Nebraska Republican Party continues to define their future by skewing even more to the right thanks to State Senator Charlie Janssen’s announcement today that he will run for Governor in 2014 and Governor Heineman stalling his ill-conceived tax plan to hurt Nebraska’s middle class.”
Janssen served in the Navy and was a member of the Fremont City Council for two years before being elected to the Legislature in 2008 and re-elected last year. He served in the Persian Gulf War as a search-and-rescue swimmer aboard a guided missile frigate in occupied Kuwait. He returned home and started a medical staffing company.
He pledged to work for tax and regulatory reform and economic development and job creation.
He marks the only candidate officially in the race to replace Gov. Dave Heineman, who cannot run again due to term limits. Former Speaker Mike Flood dropped out of the race in December after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and former Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy recently began returning campaign donations and is expected to drop out of the race after resigning as lieutenant governor.
Other Republicans considering the race include Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, State Auditor Mike Foley and State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Democrats mulling over a bid include Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop and former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook. Former NU Regent Tim Clare has decided not to make a run.
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