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Lt. Governor forced to resign over scandal, opens race for Governor

Posted: 02/04/13 08:54

Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy resigned this Saturday, Gov. Dave Heinman announced Sheehy's resignation in a hastily called news conference Saturday morning. An investigation by the Omaha World-Herald found that Sheehy, a Republican, made about 2,000 late-night telephone calls to women other than his wife. Gov. Dave Heineman told reporters Saturday that Sheehy had broken his trust, but he declined to elaborate. The 53-year-old Sheehy, a former Hastings mayor, has been considered the leading candidate to succeed Heineman in 2015. Heineman says he would no longer support the lieutenant governor if he continued his campaign.

A Bellevue emergency room doctor says she had a long-term relationship with Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who resigned Saturday as news broke of his relationships with other women. The Bellevue doctor, Theresa Hatcher, said she and Sheehy met during a meeting of emergency responders in 2008. Sheehy leads the state's emergency management efforts.

Nebraska's race for governor has been wildly unpredictable, and it hasn't even really started. The resignation Saturday of Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, a Republican who had enjoyed the endorsement and fundraising muscle of Gov. Dave Heineman, is the latest surprising turn. It followed a decision by former Republican Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood to withdraw last December after his wife, Mandi, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The list of possible Republican candidates includes Nebraska Regent Tim Clare, Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, Auditor Mike Foley, Attorney General Jon Bruning and former state Sen. Phil Erdman. Democratic candidates who have signaled an interest include Regent Chuck Hassebrook and state Sen. Steve Lathrop. Some activists are also encouraging state Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton to run.