Nebraska gubernatorial election, 2010

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Breaking news

In the Nebraska gubernatorial election of 2010, held on November 2, 2010, Republican Dave Heineman, the incumbent, defeated Democrat Mike Meister. Heineman's winning margin of 49 points was the largest gubernatorial win of 2010.

In the May 11, 2010 primary elections, Heineman was easily nominated for a second term. Nebraska Democrats nominated Mark Lakers without any primary opposition. However, in July, Lakers withdrew from the race, citing fundraising difficulties. He was replaced by Mike Meister at the state convention on July 19, 2010.

November 2, 2010 general election results

Results are complete and certified.[1]

Governor of Nebraska, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Mike Meister 26.1% 127,343
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDave Heineman Incumbent 73.9% 360,645
Total Votes 487,988

Inauguration and and transition

Inaugural date

The Inaugural celebrations, themed "Celebrate Nebraska", were announced by Governor Heineman and First Lady Sally Galem on November 15, 2010.[2]

A series of events beginning with a breakfast on Friday, January 7, 2011 and continuing through the weekend were all centered around the actual swearing in, scheduled for noon on January 6, 2011.

May 11, 2010 primaries

The official canvass and final count are available from the State of Nebraska.[3]

2010 Race for Governor - Democrat Primary [4]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Mark Lakers (D) 100.00%
Total votes 57,463
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary [5]
Candidates Percentage
Paul Anderson (R) 5.28%
Christopher Geary (R) 4.81%
Green check mark.jpgDave Heineman (R) 89.9%
Total votes 170,090

Race ratings

See also: Gubernatorial elections 2010, Race tracking

2010 Race Rankings Nebraska
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report[6] Solid Republican
Congressional Quarterly Politics[7] Safe Republican
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball[8] Safe Republican
Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard[9] Solid GOP
The Rothenberg Political Report[10] Currently Safe Republican
Overall Call Republican


2010 Race for Nebraska Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Heineman (R) Meister (D) Other Don't Know
October 7, 2010[11] 66% 24% 3% 6%
September 2, 2010[12] 61% 28% 3% 8%
July 19, 2010[13] 71% 18% 2% 8%
(Sample)[14] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05


The November Ballot – Who Made It? Nebraska Governor[15]
Nominee Affiliation
Mike Meister Democrat
Dave Heineman Republican
This lists candidates who won their state's primary or convention, or who were unopposed, and who were officially certified for the November ballot by their state's election authority.

Donkey symbol.png Democrats

  • After an uneasy July when they lacked a candidate following Mark Lakers' exit, the Nebraska Democratic Party got a candidate Mike Meister, who became the candidate on July 19, 2010. With the primary already in the past and given that Laker ran unopposed, Mr. Meister was automatically the official Democratic candidate for the general election. Mesiter is an attorney and an Army veteran, where he was part of JAG. He previously ran for elected office, unsuccessfully.

Nebraska Democratic State Chair Steve Achelpohl, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado in September 2008, insisted that "we already have our eye on the Governor's Mansion and we're going to get started sooner rather than later." [16] Despite assurances from the Democratic Governors Association leadership that no incumbent Republican governor goes unchallenged, no Democratic candidate, as of January 22, 2010, is currently running for governor. At one point, Mike Boyle, former Mayor of Omaha and Douglas County commissioner, had flirted with the idea of campaigning for the governor's seat [17], but soon back off since he was "unwilling to subject his family, including 13 grandchildren who live in Omaha, to that kind of experience" [18] the gubernatorial contest might bring.

Gop logo2.jpg Republicans

  • Dave Heineman, the incumbent governor, announced his re-election bid on January 18, 2010. [19]
  • Christopher Nathan Geary, an ex-marine and martial arts teacher, made his candidacy official on June 29, 2009. [20]
  • Paul Anderson

Race background


Standard qualifications necessary to run for the gubernatorial office include being at least 30 in addition to being both a resident of the state of Nebraska and a citizen of the United States for at least five years prior to the date of the election. [21] Each candidate for Governor, following each party's respective primary election, shall then select a person to be the candidate for Lieutenant Governor on the general election ballot. In the general election, one vote will be cast jointly for the candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. [22]

Democratics struggle to find a nominee

Democratic interest in taking the Governor's Mansion was one thing; finding a candidate to take on the task was another. The GOP had three candidates in the race by January 2010, while the Dems struggled before finding businessman Mark Lakers, who entered the race in late February[23]. Lakers, who stepped forward more than he was actively courted, fared poorly. On July 2, 1020, Lakers abruptly exited the race[24], in early July, a major set back for his party.

In a brief statement that was not even posted on Laker's now dormant campaign site, he pointed to a failure "to reach key milestones, including the financial support and endorsement of many major donors." When he spoke those words, his gubernatorial bid had just over $3,000 cash on hand, compared to $1.5 million reported by GOP opponent Heineman. He also pointed to personal attacks and the harsh race his party is facing, remarking that, " "... there is no reason to remain in this race if we can not run a competitive campaign ... and .... I do not see how we can .... The personal attacks ... have been very difficult..."

Lakers had also been under investigation by the Nebraska Attorney General for campaign finance questions when it came to light that he had listed somewhat vague promises of campaign donations as actual pledges on his financial reports[25]. Leaders within the state Democratic party had called for him to exit the race, and are now working to find a replacement candidate.

Gubernatorial electoral history

1998 Gubernatorial Results[26]
Candidates Percentage
Mike Johanns (R) 53.9%
Bill Hoppner (D) 46.0%
Total votes 544,588
2002 Gubernatorial Results[27]
Candidates Percentage
Mike Johanns (R) 68.7%
Stormy Dean (D) 27.5%
Paul Rosberg (NEB) 1.1%
Total votes 480,991
2006 Gubernatorial Results
Candidates Percentage
Dave Heineman (R) 73.4%
David Hahn (D) 24.5%
Barry Richards (NEB) 1.5%
Mort Sullivan (I) 0.6%
Total votes 593,357

Presidential electoral history

2000 Presidential Results[28]
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 62.2%
Al Gore (D) 33.3%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 65.9%
John Kerry (D) 32.7%
2008 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 56.5%
Barack Obama (D) 41.6%

1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 49.6%
Bill Clinton (D) 29.4%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 53.7%
Bill Clinton (D) 35.0%

See also

External links

Candidate pages


  1. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of the State Board of Canvassers of the State of Nebraska", accessed December 21, 2010
  2. Office of Governor Dave Heineman, "Governor & First Lady Announce Plans for 2011 Inaugural Gala", November 15, 2010
  3. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska", May 11, 2010
  4. Nebraska Secretary of State
  5. Nebraska Secretary of State
  6. The Cook Political, “Governors: Race Ratings”
  7. CQ Politics, “2010 Race Ratings: Governors”
  8. Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball', “2010 Governor Ratings”
  9. Rasmussen Reports', “Election 2010: Scorecard Ratings”
  10. Rothenberg Political Report, “Governor Ratings”
  11. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Nebraska Governor: Heineman (R) Still Comfortably Ahead of Challenger”, October 10, 2010
  12. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Nebraska Governor: Heineman (R) 61%, Meister (D) 28%”, September 6, 2010
  13. Rasmussen Reports, “Election 2010: Nebraska Governor: Heineman (R) 71%, Meister (D) 18%”, July 20, 2010
  14. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at]
  15. Nebraska Secretary of State, “2010 Candidate List (not including judicial races)”, certified September 7, 2010
  16. New Nebraska Network "2010 Governor's Race Already Coming Into View" 3 Sept. 2008
  17. Journal Star "Mike Boyle may challenge Heineman for governor" 16 Dec. 2009
  18. Journal Star "Boyle won't run for Nebraska governor" 5 Jan. 2010
  19. WOWT - Channel 6 "Gov. Heineman To Seek Re-Election" 18 Jan. 2010
  20. Nebraska State Paper "Black Belt Starts Run for Governor's Chair" 29 June, 2009
  21. Nebraska State Constitution - Section IV-2
  22. Nebraska State Constitution - Section IV-1
  23. Nebraska Journal Star, "Mark Lakers enters governor race against Heineman ", February 19, 2001
  24. Nebraska Journal Star, "Lakers will withdraw from governor's race", July 2 2010
  25. Mark That Down, "As goes Mark Lakers, so go Nebraska Democrats", June 29, 2010
  26. Nebraska Secretary of State, “1998 General Election Results“
  27. Nebraska Secretary of State, “2002 General Election Results“
  28. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections', accessed July 28, 2010