Nebraska Lt. Gov. resigns abruptly after newspaper reports late-night calls to women
February 2nd, 2013
03:31 PM ET
9 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.

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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. Big Daddy Cain

    Politics aside, I think a persons phone conversations (or texts) should be private. The fact I'm a government employee using a public restroom doesn't entitle everyone to my business, so why should this? The irony is in most cases, we aren't looking for anything, except embarrassing, or salacious tidbits to hang someone on.

    February 2, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Jack

    Another Republican family values guy bites the dust. Whenever I hear family values from a Republican I'm wondering "what's their secret life?"

    February 2, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. spock500

    Where has the Party of Family values gone, in one of the most "conservative" states in the US, no less? Conservatives, Nebraskans, and fellow Holier than Thou denizens, why so silent?

    February 2, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. Bruce

    So sad, no comment!

    February 2, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. ItSoNlYmE

    "One of several attorney generals..." Seriously CNN? Did anyone there ever take 8th grade English? How about "attorneys general"?

    February 2, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. The Dude

    Wow. A Republican who like girls. That's different.

    February 2, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. HincEtInde

    Did he get a binder full of women from Romney?

    February 2, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. anne

    Nighttime minutes are usually free. But how didn't this guy know that the bill would be itemized and public?!

    February 2, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Plurb

    If the head of the CIA, with all of the covert training, cannot get away with an affair; what chance does he think he has?

    February 2, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. maloski

    2,000 calls to 4 chicks, using taxpayer paid for phone, service and on taxpayer time??? will this crook reimburse the state for all this money he wasted???

    February 2, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. Duke

    So this guy was too dumb to not use his own private phone ? C'mon an unlimited cell plan is easy to get at walmart for $50 a month. No bills (for prying wives...) no records )for prying reporters).

    February 2, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. What is really happening?

    In trouble for talking to Women?

    I doubt it!

    February 2, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. AgrippaMT

    Another corrupt Republican caught in the act. How sweet it is.

    February 2, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Pale Rider

    I'm not sure I understand the gravity of the situation.

    February 2, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. What is really happening?

    Unlimited service costs $45 dollars or less per month.

    Get a rope!

    What is the matter with you people? Can't wait to pounce. Can't worry about something that matters?

    February 2, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Luke

    2,000 phone calls? – I doubt I've made 2,000 phone calls in my entire lifetime.

    February 2, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Bart

    As someone in Nebraska (but not a Republican) – who cares? So he was probably cheating on his wife. So what? That does not mean that he cannot be good at his job. I don't see how he broke trust with the Governor, who should be standing by his friend.

    February 2, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Frank

    His hand must be sore from all that calling! HeHeHe

    February 2, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Jose

    The only reason he should be resigning is because he used a state-issued phone for excessive personal use. I couldn't care less about who he's having an affair with. If he's resigning because he's dating four women (he is or is getting a divorce), that's a dumb reason. His dating is none of our business.

    February 2, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Carole Kilter

    I don't get it. Is there more to this story? A man whose wife filed for divorce a year ago, who presumably lives alone, spent time on the phone with women. People can't talk on the phone now - in the wee hours of the morning when we are not at work? I'm certain his cell phone had unlimited minutes, so it didn't cost anybody a dime. This is intrusive. It is ridiculous that someone be forced to resign over this unless there is more to it. Was he giving away government secrets...was he paying for the conversations with government funds?

    February 2, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. The Doug

    Don't cell phones have anytime minutes on nights and weekends? BFD. So a guy used his state paid cell phone to make free calls to women. The state was charged and money. And guys going after women, like that hasn't happened before.

    February 2, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. cmdvimes

    Usually they catch these "family values" type guys with dudes. Not that there is anything wrong with that but the hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    February 2, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Jim Foley

    I'm not a Republican, I'm not from Nebraska, and I know nothing about this guy. But exactly what did he do wrong? He's going through a divorce, so he's not really cheating on his wife. If his govt. issued phone doesn't include unlimited minutes someone should lose their job for getting a poor plan. There is nothing stated here that he did anything but "talk" to four women, and last I heard that's not against the law. Come on folks, if this guy has to step down because of this, we'll never get anyone to run for public office.

    February 2, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. Brian

    Funny to hear people and their "family values" comments. There are ample cases of Democrats doing the same thing. This isn't a GOP/Democrat thing, it is a power hungry politician thing.

    February 2, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. David Anderson

    If Only we could hear people properly secure your guns. OHHH wait we want to have people saying we want to have more and People saying we want them all gone. Can we all agree that if you have them lock them up when not in use????

    lock lock lock lock up your guns

    February 2, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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