Bruning steps into Senate race

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November 5th, 2010

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Bruning may challenge Sen. Ben Nelson for his Senate seat in 2012 (Photo courtesy State of Nebraska)

Lincoln, NE – Attorney General Jon Bruning said Friday he wants to run for the Senate in 2012.

Technically, Bruning announced that he was taking the first step toward a Senate race by forming an exploratory committee. But rhetorically, he made it clear he intends to enter the race:

“I’m not running because I want to be a United States Senator,” he said. “I’m running because I want to make a change in Washington. This place is out of control. Washington has just lost it in terms of what the American people want. The American people want a smaller government. They want less spending. And if I run, that’s why I’m running.”

Bruning, a Republican, faulted Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson for his support of health care legislation, but declined to take a position on other issues, including a proposed oil pipeline through the Sandhills. Earlier this year, Bruning’s campaign returned a $2,500 contribution from pipeline developer TransCanada. His announcement came one day after Gov. Dave Heineman announced he would not run for the Senate, and three days after Bruning won reelection unopposed to a third four year term for attorney general. That led Nebraska Democratic Party Chairman Vic Covalt to say Bruning should step down and let someone else do the job who actually wants to do it. Bruning was asked his response to voters if they said they had just renewed his contract, and now he says he wants a different job.

“I’m going to continue to do the job of attorney general and I won’t be the only person in Nebraska with two jobs,” he said. “I’ve got the energy for it. I can do it. People know me. Eighty hours a week doesn’t scare me. It hasn’t in the past. I think people know that I’m going to give it my best as attorney general and campaigning.”

Bruning said he wants to hear from Nebraskans if they want him to make the race, and expects to make a formal decision by next spring.

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