Nebraska Lt. Gov. resigns abruptly after newspaper reports late-night calls to women
February 2nd, 2013
03:31 PM ET
2 years ago

Nebraska Lt. Gov. resigns abruptly after newspaper reports late-night calls to women

(CNN) – Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy resigned on Saturday following a newspaper report that he used his state-issued cell phone to place thousands of late-night calls to women.

The Omaha World-Herald reported it had uncovered around 2,000 calls to four women. The calls were “long conversations held in the wee hours of the night,” according to the paper, which said it had requested records related to the calls.

Gov. Dave Heineman told reporters he accepted Sheehy’s resignation on Saturday morning and that it was “effective immediately.”

“Late yesterday we became aware of new information regarding the lieutenant governor's personal decisions and subsequently had a conversation with him,” Heineman said.

“I had trusted him and that trust was broken,” he told reporters.

CNN’s attempts to reach the governor through his office, assistant, and the governor’s office were unsuccessful.

Local media reported that Sheehy’s wife filed for divorce last year after a 29-year marriage she called “irretrievably broken.”

Sheehy said the split involved a “personal family matter,” according to the World-Herald, and that he had no plans to leave his job or quit his campaign.

Heineman had previously endorsed Sheehy’s bid to succeed him when their term expires in 2015. CNN affiliates KMTV and KETV reported Heineman was withdrawing his endorsement and doubted Sheehy’s campaign would continue.

John Hibbing, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told CNN this means the “race has been turned completely upside down.”

“He was a little bit under the radar and Gov. Heineman was calling the shots,” Hibbing said. “He’s been the Nebraska equivalent of the vice president.”

Sheehy’s chances to win the governor’s seat looked good, Hibbing said, after the former legislature speaker Mike Flood withdrew from the race citing his wife’s cancer. With the GOP field now empty, he says Attorney General John Bruning or state legislator Charlie Janssen may run. Bruning ran for the U.S. Senate last year and drew attention as one of several attorneys general who sued the Obama administration over the health reform law.

Hibbing said Sheehy’s resignation could also open the door for a Democrat to win the gubernatorial race, which “would be quite an upset.”

Heineman had served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Mike Johanns, who resigned in 2005 to join President George W. Bush’s Cabinet. Heineman became governor and appointed Sheehy his lieutenant. The two were elected to full four-year terms in 2006 and 2010.

Sheehy recently served a term as chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. Before his appointment as lieutenant governor, Sheehy was a mayor and rose through the ranks of an ambulance company where he worked for 20 years, according to his state biography.

The lieutenant governor’s duties include presiding over the state’s legislature, which is the nation’s only unicameral – single-body – legislature.

KETV described the resignation as “startling” and the World-Herald described it as “abrupt.”

Heineman said he would “begin the process of filling the office of lieutenant governor on Monday.”

– CNN’s Kristi Ramsay contributed to this report


Filed under: Nebraska
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Lord Toronaga

    Eh, Not so good. 2000 calls to 4 women. Wow. Check please.

    February 2, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Name lynn

    Rick resigns because he got caught up with women, guilty guilty.

    February 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Squigman

    Another example of family values, if there ever was one.

    February 2, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Zeibodique

    It's so nice to see yet another Republican holding down the "Family Values & Morals" ideal.

    February 2, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Dan

    I love it when right-wingers, the holy party, are busted for this kind of thing. How stupid can a person possibly be?

    February 2, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. gmenfan54

    We certainly know what Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy liked to do in his spare time.

    February 2, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. masse

    another hypocrite GOPer. Family values, ha ha ha

    February 2, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. bull

    So, who'd been paying for those phone calls if they were not for biz? My guess is tax payers?

    February 2, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Tutuvabene

    This is in the same vein as Mark Sanford's "soul mate." These people are veteran politicians and know this is questionable behavior. How can they be so stupid as to do it anyway?

    February 2, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Kijana25

    Sorry LT gov. wish you wish well.

    February 2, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Tutuvabene

    What I would also like to know is how the newspaper "uncovered" the information on the calls. Engaging in phone hacking?

    February 2, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Larry L

    "The Omaha World-Herald reported it had uncovered around 2,000 calls to four women. The calls were “long conversations held in the wee hours of the night”

    I'm not shocked to see yet another Red State Conservative doing something sleazy – but this doesn't sound illegal. How many calls are you allowed before you get fired? DIck Cheney talked to Ken Lay about fifty times in the month following Enron's collapse yet denied any knowledge of the impending financial disaster. Isn't that worse?

    February 2, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. GTA

    All this because a guy is too cheap to pay for a personal cellphone. If his judgement is no better than that, then perhaps Nebraska is better off without him.

    February 2, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. NothingAtAll

    Thank you Republicans for affirming what frauds you really are.

    February 2, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Tutuvabene

    Many high government officials are encouraged to use their issued cell phone as their personal phone, the reasoning being that if it was "for official use only" it would be put in a desk drawer and the official would not have it in an emergency or crisis situation.

    February 2, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Kelli

    As a resident of Nebraska I say good riddance! This state is run my sleazy Republicans starting at the top with the little tyrant, Heinemann! He's nothing but a bully and has history of temper tantrums that would make a 2 year old jealous. Republicans as so secure in this state I'm shocked Sheehy was even outed. Good for the Omaha World Herald. Now I wish they'd do some REAL investigation of our Koch Bros., Rove, Ricketts paid for Senator, Deb Fischer! In fact I wish someone with some courage would do any kind of investigation related to the sleazy Republicans running this state.

    February 2, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. jackson

    Tutuvabene

    What I would also like to know is how the newspaper "uncovered" the information on the calls. Engaging in phone hacking?

    _________

    State issued phone. The bills are public record.

    Perhaps you should do more research before leveling libelous accusations.

    February 2, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Rosslaw

    This should be cited as the classic example of a very slow news day news story.

    February 2, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Vince

    Typical "family values" righty.

    February 2, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I bet he was talking about important issues like gun control, abortion and for sure how not to pay taxes.
    Republican's make me sick.

    February 2, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. rob0rah

    Another example of the fact that there is no power on earth greater than possy!

    February 2, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Tom

    Nebraskans have more class than to put up with this kind of buffoonery. Right on, Omaha World Herald.

    February 2, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. vinster76

    you would think men would exercise a bit more restraint, or service themselves if unable to do that, rather than mess around......how sad, for him and his family...actually, who cares about him......just his family......he got his pleasure, now he will get to pay the piper

    February 2, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. CharlesCT

    Yeah, but he is Republican? Family man. Church every Sunday. Yada, yada, yada........

    February 2, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. Tutuvabene

    Really? So I can see the bills for any state issued cell phone? Talk about security.

    February 2, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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