GOP race is going to be worth watching

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Watch. Watch closely. It's going to be interesting to see how the Republican races for the governor, Senate and congressional nominations play out in the next nine months.

Each day, it seems, there's a new development as the announced candidates attempt to put their names in the forefront of voters' thoughts.

Wednesday, for example, two of the candidates for the gubernatorial nomination, Tom Osborne and David Nabity, were at the GOP's ice cream social in Valentine, while the other, incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman, was returning from the trade mission to Cuba.

Candidates for the GOP's Senate nominations were also making themselves visible, with multi-millionaire Pete Ricketts in attendance at Valentine, as was David Kramer, who stepped down as the state's Republican party chairman to seek the nod in the Senate race. Only Don Stenberg, who was a previous Republican senate candidate, was missing. Stenberg said he had made a previous commitment before learning of the Valentine event.

The candidates for the GOP's Third District congressional nomination are also making the rounds, including frequent swings through Southwest Nebraska. The Republican candidates in the Third District are Adrian Smith, David Harris, John Hanson, Doug Polk and Jay Vavricek.

The non-stop campaigning is important. How else are we, as voters, going to get to know who the candidates are and what they stand for?

One of the most difficult decisions will be whom to choose for the governor's nomination. Do you go with Osborne, one of the most revered men in Nebraska's history, or Heineman, who has earned distinction in his short tenure as governor? Then there's Nabity, not as well known, but repected as a business leader.

In the race for the Senatorial nomination, Ricketts' wealth is causing the most talk. Already, there are reports he will spend more than a half million dollars in the primary campaign alone. He has strong opposition, however, as Stenberg's name is well known because of his years as the state's attorney general and his previous Senate candidacy. Kramer, too, is respected in Republican circles because of his passionate party leadership.

You can expect a lot more politicking in the weeks and months to come. It's election season, and the Republican candidates are doing all they can to win voters' support and a place on the general election ballot in November 2006.

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