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Johanns to Retire in Nebraska

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U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska) announced Monday that he will retire in 2014. This opens up a Senate seat in a bright red state and gives us another opportunity to elect a strong, principled leader.

The Johanns retirement is a surprise, but a welcome one for many conservatives. Senator Johanns is a moderate Republican who has supported debt limit increases, union giveaways, corporate welfare, and higher taxes. Just last week, Senator Johanns was one of only four Republicans to support Chuck Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense.

Now that the Nebraska seat is open, several candidates are considering the race for the Republican nomination. The Senate Conservatives Fund will vet each candidate to see if there's a standout we can support.

As you know, before SCF endorses a candidate, we have to positively answer the following three questions:

  • Is the candidate a conservative?
  • Does the candidate have grassroots support?
  • Can the candidate win?

SCF helped elect conservative U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) in 2012 and we can do it again in 2014.


There's one candidate eyeing the race that we already know we cannot endorse — U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

Congressman Fortenberry has a big-spending voting record in the House of Representatives and is not the kind of fiscal conservative we need in the U.S. Senate. In fact, he received a dismal 51% rating in the latest Heritage Action for America scorecard.

  • More specifically, Fortenberry has voted to:
  • Increase the debt limit by $2.1 trillion;
  • Raise income and payroll taxes;
  • Increase his own congressional pay;
  • Expand Export-Import Bank corporate welfare;
  • Ban incandescent light bulbs;
  • Pass a spending bill that included funding for Obamacare; and
  • Spend taxpayer money on wasteful earmarks like the Lobster Institute, the National Mule and Packers Museum, and the Bronx Council for the Arts.

We asked our members in Nebraska about Fortenberry and here are some of the comments we received:

  • "He is not a conservative and doesn't get that we need to stop spending money we don't have."
  • "He goes along with the old guard Republicans."
  • "He has been part of the problem."
  • "His ranking is weakest of all the Nebraska Congressmen."
  • "I asked Fortenberry where in the Constitution was the authority for earmark spending. His reply was the General Welfare clause. This is not the thinking of a fiscal conservative."
  • "Typical establishment Republican who screams his conservatism at the top of his lungs in Nebraska, but then goes to Washington and sells us down the river."

It's not surprising that 95% of our members in the Cornhusker State said they wanted a conservative alternative to Fortenberry. We're already working to identify a strong, conservative candidate and we will keep you updated on our progress.
Category: Senate Races   Tags: Mike Johanns  NE14  Jeff Fortenberry  
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