Primary Looms for Candidates and Issues

When Gallup asked what people thought was the most important problem facing the country this month the answer was the economy. That’s the topic of a Tuesday night forum for U.S. Senate candidates in Nebraska.

All seven candidates are on the roster for the debate at the Sheraton Hotel.

It's a crowded field on the Republican side. The winner next month will take on democrat and attorney Dave Domina.

Among the four major Republican candidates in a contest where TV ads are often the quickest way to reach the largest number of people, Shane Osborn has name recognition. He's the former State Treasurer. Ben Sasse received national media coverage early on that helped push his campaign. Sid Dinsdale grew Pinnacle Bank and has been active for decades in the community. Bart McLeay oversees 140 lawyers at Kutak Rock.

When it comes to the economy, these are the major ideas on their Web sites:

  • Ben Sasse: "The problem with our federal debt is not a lack of revenue. The problem is an addiction to spending by unaccountable politicians."
  • Shane Osborn: "To get the national economy back on track, the federal government needs to cut spending and foster job creation."
  • Sid Dinsdale: "If a constitutional requirement to balance the budget is good enough for Nebraska and more than 40 other states, it should be good enough for Washington."
  • Bart McLeay: "With the debt rising at unsustainable levels, we need leadership in Washington to get back to basics and budget within our means."

With many similar ideas on the economy, it will likely come down to trust.

Then there’s the race for Governor. The top Republican in Nebraska, Governor Dave Heineman, will be stepping down at the demand of term limits this year. Now that the legislative session is over, Heineman says, “I'm going to start paying attention. We're going to have a very competitive situation."

In the crowded field of six Republicans trying to be his replacement, Heineman said he has not yet given his support to any of them.

“If I'm going to endorse, I'll probably do it in late April or early May," he said.

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