Governors have no direct control over federal policy, but the hot-button issues of federal gun control, U.S. environmental policy and federal health insurance expansion are getting plenty of attention.
The candidates are locked in a competitive five-way primary to replace Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, who can’t run again because of term limits. The field includes state Sens. Charlie Janssen, Tom Carlson and Beau McCoy, State Auditor Mike Foley and Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts.
Kevin Smith, a University of Nebraska political science professor, says the state and federal issues are often intertwined, but raising them in a primary could help stir the Republican base, even if a governor’s influence on federal policy is limited.