Heineman poised to be longest running NE Gov.

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November 3rd, 2010

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Lincoln, NE – Governor Dave Heineman promised to continue emphasizing education and jobs, even as state government tightens its belt, after he swept to re-election Tuesday.

Gov. Dave Heineman swept to an easy victory Tuesday night (Photo courtesy State of Nebraska)

Less than an hour after the polls closed, Heineman was already claiming victory before a crowd of several hundred at a Republican gathering in downtown Lincoln. The Republican governor credited his administration’s policies for his lopsided win.

“I believe Nebraskans appreciate our focus on job creation, balancing the budget, prioritizing education and no tax increases,” he said. “As we look to our future, we have an incredible opportunity to move Nebraska forward. We have worked hard to put Nebraska into a stronger financial position than most other states. In fact, the president and Congress should follow our lead.”

The state’s economic forecasting board just lowered its projections for future tax revenue last Friday, and Heineman said he’s already begun work on how to deal with that. He repeated his promise not to increase taxes, and said just like families, the state would have to tighten its budget.

As the evening wore on, Heineman was polling ahead of Democrat Mike Meister by a 3-1 margin. Meister got into the race only in July, after the first Democratic candidate, Mark Lakers, withdrew after filing a faulty campaign finance report. Meister said he thinks criticisms he raised of Heineman’s handling of Health and Human Services and the State Patrol will have continuing value:

“We talked very important issues,” he said. “We just didn’t have enough time to get those issues out to everybody so they understood what they were.” Meister added, “I think the press is going to take a much harder look at whether he’s doing his job, than they have in the past, and that’ll be good for Nebraska.”

Having served two years after moving up from Lt. Gov. when former Gov. Mike Johanns resigned, Heineman now stands poised to become the longest serving governor in Nebraska history. But he has also left open the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate when current Democratic Senator Ben Nelson is up for reelection two years from now. Heineman said he would make a “relatively quick” decision on that.

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