Chuck Hassebrook

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Chuck Hassebrook
Chuck Hassebrook.jpg
Governor of Nebraska
Former Candidate
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Campaign website
Chuck Hassebrook was a Democratic candidate for Governor of Nebraska. He declared his candidacy for the open governor seat in June 2013.[1] Chuck Hassebrook lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

He ran briefly for election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, but withdrew from the race before the primary election.


Hassebrook is a University of Nebraska graduate and native of Platte Center, Nebraska. He was the Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Nebraska.[2] Hassebrook serves on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, including two terms as chair, and is current Chair of the Board of the USDA North Central Region Rural Development Center. He previously served on the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, US Department of Agriculture National Commission on Small Farms, USDA Agricultural Science and Technology Review Board and the Board Bread for the World.[3]



See also: Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2014

Hassebrook ran for Governor of Nebraska in 2014.[1] He won the Democratic nomination without opposition in the primary election. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Hassebrook was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

General election
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPete Ricketts/Mike Foley 57.2% 308,751
     Democratic Chuck Hassebrook/Jane Raybould 39.3% 211,905
     Libertarian Mark G. Elworth Jr./Scott Zimmerman 3.5% 19,001
Total Votes 539,657
Election Results via Nebraska Secretary of State.

Race background

Incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman was barred by term limits from seeking re-election in 2014.[4][5] Heineman intended to enthusiastically back then-Lt. Gov Rick Sheehy, with whom he shared a winning ticket in both the 2006 and 2010 elections, as his successor, until Sheehy's resignation in Feb. 2012, causing a "deeply disappointed" Heineman to withdraw his support for his former second-in-command's campaign.[6][7] Days later, campaign donors reportedly began receiving refund checks in the mail, the final death knell for Sheehy’s gubernatorial ambitions.[8]

With Sheehy, the previous front-runner, out of the running, other potential candidates emerged with renewed hope: six Republicans ran in the May primary.[9]

Resignation of Lavon Heidemann

Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann (R) announced his resignation from the lieutenant governor's office on September 9, 2014, following reports of a physical altercation with his sister, Lois Bohling. Bohling claimed that Heidemann grabbed her wrists and pushed her following a heated argument over their deceased father's estate. Heidemann and Bohling disagreed about her August 13 filing, which would have stripped him of his ability to farm two parcels of land previously owned by their father. This altercation led to a September 8 order from Johnson County District Judge Daniel Bryan prohibiting Heidemann from contacting his sister, visiting her home or visiting their mother's home. Heidemann stated that he disputed his sister's account of the discussion, but the order led to calls for his resignation by state Democratic leaders.[10]

Gov. Dave Heineman (R) announced that he would move quickly to fill the vacancy, which will be held by three different people in less than two years. Heineman selected state legislator John Nelson as Heidemann's replacement on September 29.[11] Heidemann's 2014 running mate, Pete Ricketts, selected State Auditor Mike Foley as his new ticket mate following the resignation. The Nebraska Secretary of State approved an appeal by Ricketts to replace Heidemann with Foley on the ballot on September 10. The deadline to name a lieutenant gubernatorial candidate was September 1, and state law does not allow names to be removed from the ballot after that date. The appeal was approved on the grounds that Ricketts had a constitutional obligation to select a running mate.[10][12]

Ballot lawsuit

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mark G. Elworth Jr. filed a lawsuit against Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale on September 12 over his decision to remove Heidemann from the general election ballot. In a filing with Lancaster County District Court, Elworth cited state law that requires candidates for lieutenant governor to be decided by September 1. Gale argued that his decision to remove Heidemann from the ballot was made after weighing a gubernatorial candidate's constitutional right to designate a running mate against the statutory deadline.[13] A district court judge ruled on September 23 that Gale's decision would stand, allowing Heidemann to be replaced by Foley on the ballot.[14]

Campaign media

Chuck Hassebrook ad: Together

Chuck Hassebrook ad: Too Extreme for Nebraska

Campaign themes

Hassebrook supports property tax relief instead of but is strongly opposed to Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman's plan to eliminate the income tax. Hassebrook has also said during his campaign stops that he would expand preschool programs in the state because many children are not ready for kindergarten. "We have too many kids not getting what they need, and if they don't succeed, our state can't succeed," Hassebrook said. "Because, if they can't get an education then they can't contribute to our state's prosperity, in fact they're probably going to detract from it through public assistance or law enforcement and the corrections system."[15]


October 2 debate

Chuck Hassebrook and Pete Ricketts shared barbs over past positions in a debate sponsored by Nebraska Educational Communications. Hassebrook accused Ricketts of supporting Gov. Dave Heineman's (R) tax proposal in 2013, which would have increased sales tax rates. The Platte Institute, a conservative think-tank created by Ricketts, supported the tax proposal, which ultimately failed to pass in the face of increasing public criticism. Hassebrook argued that Ricketts tried to hide his support for the measure when he decided to run for governor. Ricketts denied support for the bill, noting that he did not agree with every position taken by the institute.[16]

Ricketts countered by bringing up a report co-authored by Hassebrook in 1990 that called for a ban on exports of genetically modified crops. The issue of biotechnology in farming has grown in prominence due to the importance of Nebraska's agricultural sector. Hassebrook responded that he provided little assistance to the authors of the report, and was wrongly credited as a co-author. He also noted that he supported biotechnology research since the early 1990s, when he served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.[16]

Debate viewers also saw Hassebrook and Ricketts stake out distinct positions on immigration and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would run through Nebraska. Hassebrook advocated for allowing driving licenses for children brought to the country illegally, while Ricketts opposed issuing licenses as a matter of protecting existing laws. Ricketts suggested that the XL Pipeline would bring jobs to the state and securely transport oil across the country, citing problems with rail transportation of oil. Hassebrook opposed the pipeline because he suggested the project would contribute to climate change.[16]

September 1 debate

Chuck Hassebrook and Pete Ricketts sparred over education policy, economics and full-time residency in Lincoln at the Nebraska State Fair. Hassebrook opposed school vouchers for public school students, suggesting that tax dollars should be used to improve public schools. Ricketts countered that a gradual voucher policy would help students while keeping money in public schools. The duo showed stark differences in economic policy, with Hassebrook supporting a minimum wage increase and Ricketts opposing an increased wage. Moderator Mike'l Severe asked both candidates if they would reside in the governor's mansion full-time if elected. Ricketts, who has three children attending school in Omaha, said that he had not made a final decision on the question. Hassebrook stated that Nebraska needs a "full-time governor" and that he would live in Lincoln because "40 hours a week is a vacation."[17]


See also: United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2012

Hassebrook ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Nebraska. He sought the nomination on the Democratic ticket, but dropped out of the race on March 8, 2012 when he, in his words, "came to realization that I would not succeed."[18]

Primary results

The primary took place on June 5, 2012.[19]

US Senate - Nebraska Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBob Kerrey 81% 66,586
Chuck Hassebrook 12% 9,886
Steven P. Lustgarten 2.6% 2,177
Larry Marvin 2.5% 2,076
Sherman Yates 1.8% 1,500
Total Votes 82,225

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Freemont Tribune, "Hasseback will enter 2014 governor's race," June 3, 2013
  2. Center for Rural Affairs, "Passing the Torch - Chuck Hassebrook departs, Brian Depew tapped as new Center for Rural Affairs Executive Director," August 26, 2013
  3. Center for Rural Affairs, "Chuck Hassebrook" April 13, 2012
  4. World Herald-Bureau, "Mike Flood launches bid for governor's office in 2014," November 13, 2012
  5. World Herald-Bureau, "Mike Flood launches bid for governor's office in 2014," November 13, 2012
  6. Journal Star, "Sheehy says he will run for Nebraska governor in 2014," July 15, 2011
  7. The Wall Street Journal, “Nebraska lt. governor resigns,” February 2, 2013
  8. Omaha World-Herald, “Sheehy’s campaign returns donations,” February 6, 2013
  9. National Review Online, "Charlie Janssen to run for Nebraska governor, February 19, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1, " Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann resigns, withdraws as Pete Ricketts' running mate," September 9, 2014
  11., "Heineman chooses Omaha Sen. John Nelson as lieutenant governor," accessed September 29, 2014
  12. Kearney Hub, "Secretary of State: Mike Foley's name to appear on ballot," September 10, 2014
  13. WOWT, "Candidate Sues To Get Heidemann's Name Back On Ballot," September 13, 2014
  14. Lincoln Journal Star, "Challenge to Foley ballot change ends," September 23, 2014
  15. KHAS TV, Gubernatorial candidate Chuck Hassebrook campaigns in Hastings, October 28, 2013 (dead link)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2, " In their last debate before election, Nebraska governor candidates try to build contrasts," October 2, 2014
  17., "Hassebrook-Ricketts debate: Nebraska's governor candidates display stark choice voters will face," September 2, 2014
  18. Journal Star, "Hassebrook withdraws from Senate race, endorses Kerrey" April 26, 2012
  19. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Canvass Report" accessed October 11, 2012