Nelson: Governor has “zero influence” on decision to run
December 7th, 2011
Omaha, NE – The political rhetoric lobbied back and forth between Governor Dave Heineman and Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson continued this week.
Governor Heineman has been critical of Senator Nelson for months – grumbling about the burden of the federal healthcare law on Nebraska, and reminding the state of Nelsonâ€™s decisive vote in favor of President Obamaâ€™s plan. At a press conference Tuesday Heineman fired a few direct shots.
â€œI think it would be appropriate for Senator Nelson, in his final year in office, to admit he made a mistake and introduce a bill to repeal Obamacare,â€ Heineman said. â€œAnd itâ€™d be a great Christmas present for Nebraska if he could go ahead and get that done before Christmas.â€
Heinemanâ€™s criticisms have hinted at plans for a Senate bid, with hopes to unseat Nelson, a Democrat. Heâ€™s denied that suggestion, but this week, he received some calls he indicated have made him think about it.
â€œWhen a Senate Minority Leaderâ€¦ a leading U.S. Senator or member of the House of Representatives want to call me, Iâ€™m going to take that phone call, as Iâ€™ve done,â€ he said. â€œThey initiated the phone calls, and I listened to them.â€
Heineman called their arguments â€œpersuasive,â€ but said he told them it would â€œtake a lotâ€ to change his mind.
Senator Nelson fired right back at Heineman during his conference call with reporters on Wednesday. â€œIâ€™m surprised the Governor would even cow tow to the wishes of Mitch McConnell.â€
Nelson said if the Governor is considering a bid, which would end his term early, heâ€™s thinking of whatâ€™s best for the Republican Party, not Nebraskans. â€œAnd that really is the problem with Washington,â€ Nelson said. â€œThere are far too many people already here who want to do what is best for their political party, and far too few who think in terms of whatâ€™s best for Nebraska.â€
But, with that said, Nelson said he doesnâ€™t think Heineman is planning to run.
â€œNo, I donâ€™t think heâ€™s going to run,â€ he said. â€œAnd I donâ€™t think he has any plan, or any interest in running. And whatever his purpose is, itâ€™s not working. If itâ€™s to try to influence me, it has absolutely zero influence with me.â€
Senator Nelson said he hasnâ€™t yet decided if heâ€™ll run again next year. For his part, Heineman said even if he doesnâ€™t run, any of the Republicans currently in the race could beat Nelson. Heâ€™s in â€œserious trouble,â€ he said, and â€œhe knows it.â€
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