Monday, November 20, 2006

Update: State Senators Invest In Heineman & Their Own Ambitions

by Kyle Michaelis
According to the Lincoln Journal-Star's Nancy Hicks, the 2007 legislature is coming more firmly into focus and - sure enough - those returning state senators who donated to Gov. Heineman's campaign are all seeking leadership positions.

This definitely jives with the theory I advanced this weekend, upon examining Heineman's Accountability & Disclosure reports, that some state senators believed contributions to Heineman might prove useful in the pursuit of their own ambitions in the approaching legislative session.

The one point on which Hicks' report differs is that it makes no mention of Sen. Mick Mines' desire to run as Speaker. Assuming Hicks is operating from more up-to-date information, it seems likely Mines (and his $1000 Heineman contribution) is foregoing a run as Speaker in deference to Sen. Mike Flood (who gave an extra $50 - for a whopping total of $1050 - and who was first out of the gate declaring his intentions).

According to Hicks, Mines is now running against Sen. Ray Janssen for Chair of the Revenue Committee. Meanwhile, Heineman contributing Senators Chris Langemeier ($1000) and Deb Fischer ($500) are competing for Chairs of the National Resources and the Transportation & Telecommunications Committees, respectively, against more experienced Senators who didn't donate to Heineman's campaign. Here, we should get a pretty clear illustration of how far an investment in Heineman (and his influence) can carry his supporters.

Needless to say, we'll see the same in the race for Speaker, where the only significant advantage Flood has over Sen. DiAnna Schimek is the party label he wears off the ballot and outside the legislature.

Finally, Sen. Ray Aguilar ($550) is uncontested seeking the Chair of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, while Sen. Pat Engle ($500) is without opposition seeking to become Chair of the Executive Board.


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