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Politics 2010: GOP expect to cruise to November in Nebraska

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International
Politics 2010: GOP expect to cruise to November in Nebraska
Rep. Lee Terry (UPI Photo/Patrick D. McDermott) | License Photo

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman finds himself favored Tuesday in the Republican party primary in contrast to the dogfight he faced four years ago.

This year's primary is considered by political observers as a weigh station for Heineman, challenged by two relatively unknown politicians, Paul Anderson and Christopher Geary, both of Omaha.

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Flash back to 2006, when Heineman, an unelected incumbent faced U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, a three-term congressman with rock-star status because of his 25-year stint as Nebraska University's head football coach. Heineman, who moved up from lieutenant governor when Mike Johanns resigned to become U.S. secretary of agriculture, won the Cornhusker version of David and Goliath.

If re-elected in November, Heineman is on track to serve 10 years, becoming the longest-serving governor in state history. (Republicans have won the last three gubernatorial elections.)

Anderson, 56, a career railroader, recently told the Lincoln Journal Star his candidacy was about accountability.

"People are very angry because their elected representatives are not paying attention to them," Anderson said, pledging that, if elected he would tackle what he called Nebraska's dreadful tax burden.

Geary, 38, a martial arts grand master, teacher and business owner, told the Journal Star he wants to return Nebraska "to true conservatism and follow the Constitution."

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And, he said, "I will veto any piece of legislation that comes across my desk for any and all increases in taxes."

On the Democratic side of the ballot, Omaha investment banker Mark Lakers is running unopposed en route to an anticipated clash with Heineman in November.

Nebraska's three U.S. house seats all are held by Republicans, who traditionally dominate House races in Nebraska.

In the 1st congressional district, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has two Republican opponents, Ralph Bodie and David Hunt. The four candidates in the Democratic primary -- Jessica Lynn Turek, Stanley Krauter, Ivy Harper and Sherman Yates -- all are from Lincoln.

Rep. Lee Terry of Omaha is seeking a seventh term in the 2nd congressional district, facing a challenge from Mat Sakalosky, also of Omaha. State Sen. Tom White is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Challenging incumbent Arian Smith in the sprawling, 69-county 3rd congressional district is Dennis Parker. Rebekah Davis is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

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