Surprises in governor's race: Herbster out; McCoy in -
Published Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 3:19 am
Surprises in governor's race: Herbster out; McCoy in

One Republican bowed out of the Nebraska governor's race Friday, but several more are either pondering a bid or gearing up for a run in what is expected to be a free-for-all campaign in Nebraska.

Chuck Herbster called a halt to his short-lived run Friday, citing his wife's ill health. She had undergone open-heart surgery earlier this year.

Almost immediately after Herbster issued his news release, State Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha announced he would run.

McCoy may not be the last person to jump into the race.

Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts is expected to enter the fray soon, while others are seriously mulling a bid, including State Auditor Mike Foley and State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

“I don't have any reason to believe either the field for governor or the field for Senate is set at this point. I think there are still people considering it, privately,” said J.L. Spray, chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party.

Both the governor's race and the Senate race are wide open in Nebraska, without either an incumbent or clear front-runner in the field.

So far, five candidates are running for governor: Democrats Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons and Annette Dubas of Fullerton; and Republicans Charlie Janssen of Fremont, Tom Carlson of Holdrege and McCoy.

Three Republicans are running for Senate: former State Treasurer Shane Osborn, Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay and Midland University President Ben Sasse.

Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale is taking a hard look at Senate and giving indications of being a candidate. A spokesman for Dinsdale said he planned to make an announcement in mid-September.

No Democrat has surfaced yet for the Senate seat.

McCoy wasted little time Friday in announcing a run in the wake of Herbster's departure.

He began to call Republican officials and others shortly after Herbster's announcement to inform them of his candidacy.

“He is calling supporters and other officeholders in the Republican Party, and he is informing them today he is entering the race,” said Kent Grisham, a former spokesman for Herbster, who says he now works for McCoy.

Herbster's short-lived campaign had intrigued many in the Republican Party. He was a virtual unknown but indicated he had the financial resources to mount an aggressive campaign.

In recent weeks, he and his staff had begun hiring a large campaign staff that included Carlos Castillo, a respected political operative who served as Gov. Dave Heineman's campaign manager in his successful race against former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne.

Herbster had never formally entered the race, but he hit the campaign trail in early July and had been walking in parades and showing up at party functions. Friday morning, he met with Spray and announced he would leave the race.

Herbster's wife, Judy, had surgery in Atlanta for a heart aneurysm earlier this year. Herbster said when he started campaigning he thought his wife had recuperated. However, she recently had a relapse, he said.

“Judy has suffered several complications, and her recuperation will be a longer and more difficult process than we expected,” Herbster said in a press release. “My love and biblical obligations to her require that I discontinue my campaign for the Nebraska governorship.”

Contact the writer: Robynn Tysver    |   402-444-1309    |  

Robynn is's elections writer. She's covered presidential politics in Iowa's caucuses, and gubernatorial and Senate races in Nebraska.

Keystone XL pipeline backers blast ‘political expediency’ as foes hail ruling to delay decision
Interstate construction to cause lane shifts, closings in Omaha area
Man, 21, shot in ankle while walking near 30th, W Streets
Teenager arrested after woman's purse is snatched outside Omaha store
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs, police say
Dems criticize governor hopeful Beau McCoy's ad in which he strikes a Barack Obama doll
Omahan charged in fatal shooting in Benson neighborhood
Friday's attendance dips at Millard West after bathroom threat
High school slam poets don't just recite verses, 'they leave their hearts beating on the stage'
Crack ring's leaders join others in prison as a result of Operation Purple Haze
High court denies death row appeal of cult leader convicted of murder
Haze in area comes from Kansas, Oklahoma
Man taken into custody in domestic dispute
Omaha judge reprimanded for intervening in peer attorney's DUI case
Intoxicated man with pellet gun climbs billboard's scaffold; is arrested
Police seek public's help in finding an armed man
Saturday forecast opens window for gardening; Easter egg hunts look iffy on Sunday
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Last day of 2014 Legislature: Praise, passage of a last few bills and more on mountain lions
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
A voice of experience: Ex-gang member helps lead fight against Omaha violence
Church is pressing its case for old Temple Israel site
OPPD board holding public forum, open house May 7
< >
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Breaking Brad: At least my kid never got stuck inside a claw machine
We need a new rule in Lincoln. If your kid is discovered inside the claw machine at a bowling alley, you are forever barred from being nominated for "Mother of the Year."
Breaking Brad: How many MECA board members can we put in a luxury suite?
As a stunt at the Blue Man Group show, MECA board members are going to see how many people they can stuff into one luxury suite.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »