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. Edwin

    Two thousand calls to FOUR women? That's a lotta phone calls!

    February 2, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. PapaBear

    Give the guy a break, its a lonely world out there in Nebraska. God bless him, YEE HAW.

    February 2, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Chooch0253

    Golly how shocking another of the party of "Family Values". What a surprise...........................

    February 2, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Diana

    I really don't understand why making personal calls (as long as there is no added cost) is so immoral....

    February 2, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. pennsylvania sage

    What kind of person has the time for all this activity?
    David Vitter should resign too.

    February 2, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Tad

    Who cares as long as he was thinking with his top head during the day...people need to get over worrying about people's secret lives after work...

    February 2, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. rickbeagle

    actually kudos to all involved for handling this as well as they have.

    February 2, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Get right,are get left doom& gloom. Judge-ment-day is coming.

    February 2, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. mike

    On one side i do not care if someone does that as long as they do their job well (face it, bill was a good president and America is corrupted by its stup1d puritan values), but when a Republican gets caught it is just music to my ears "family values" yeah, right. HAHA!!!

    February 2, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. sspjxc

    So, a divorced man spends a lot of time calling four woman. Aside from the use of the state issued cell phone, what is the issue? It's not as if he was hanging out with Bob Menendez in the DR or anything.

    February 2, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. confused

    Straight Talk phone = ~$50 Unlimited Talk&Text = ~$50 (think about it) Other than that, I guess the only thing I can say left in his defense is he was atleast divorced (or in process of). Not like he was accused of using prostitutes.

    February 2, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. Calcommuter

    Another GOP unspoken rule: "It's not what you do, it's what you get caught doing"!!

    February 2, 2013 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Erckle

    Drunk on the power of being...Lieutenant Governor...of Nebraska. Dude.

    February 2, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. noteasilyswayed

    Amazing how these politicians think that they're special and will not get caught doing these things; otherwise, they would have learned not to do this from reading about those that were caught before them. I feel sorry for his children if he has any. His wife was wise to have dumped him already.

    February 2, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. Tony

    I don't get it. What's the ig deal? Did he go over the minutes on his cellular plan?

    February 2, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. v2787

    Just another example of the party of "family values" doing what they do best.

    February 2, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Name lynn

    rick resigns because he got caught up in the act, wasteing money on women. Guilty an stupid .

    February 2, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Really, resigning for calling woman? Is this what we've come to? The country is a mess, and this is the fluff we care about. I'm also a stinking liberal, and I still think this is a mess.

    February 2, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Craig from Pa.

    Family values...here we go again...Guess they go to church to be forgiven...I think that may be the mindset...I can do this because the Lord will forgive me!

    February 2, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. Mit

    There are worse things in life than talking on the phone to different women...

    February 2, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. jackie

    Lt. Gov. can't make phone calls without getting into trouble. Was this about using tax payers money? If so, how much. I didn't see any dollar amout. gee maybe he had unlimited calling...

    February 2, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. MIKE MULLICAN.

    he is not even married why are so many liberals calling it morally wrong for him to be talking to women?

    February 2, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. MIKE MULLICAN.

    hes not married so why is this such a big issue with democrats calling him immoral?

    February 2, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  24. rami

    Another GOP? here we go again.

    February 2, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. Roger smith.

    i cant figure out why democrats are calling him imoral and stuff. and another republican hypocrit??

    he is single. is it imoral to call a women when you are single?

    February 2, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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