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. yogi

    Another member of the party of family values bites the dust. Next?

    February 2, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. ted

    A Republican calling woman???

    February 2, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. gwats

    No fan of Republicans here, but couldn't he have just apologized, and reimbursed the State for the calls or paid a fine? Seems like a high price to pay for 'pillow talk, and booty calls'.

    February 2, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Tom

    I wonder how the these acts by politicians compare to inappropriate acts in the general population?

    February 2, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. payN2much

    The bar is sooooo low for Democrat politicians that no matter how egregious the act is it's expected from a Dem and thus no snickers, finger wagging etc. So, yep it's discouraging to hear about a conservative messing up. But what you Libs still don't get is conservatives are held to a higher standard, WE hold ourselves to a higher standard, and that is something Libs really should consider and stop acting like spoiled children.

    February 2, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. cogitoergosum

    Men are so weak.

    February 2, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Livelystone

    If the guy is no longer married and the calls done at the times they have been reported to have been then they would be free calls

    So what is the big deal here?

    February 2, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. truebob

    I seriously doubt the lieutenant governor had a minute phone so there was no cost to the state.. Why does this matter? My wife is a serial cheater, doesn't change the fact that she is a great mom and an excellent wife in other areas. I'll keep my stones because I don't want any thrown my way.

    February 2, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  9. Patrick in Wisconsin

    I bet he got those four women from Mitt Romney's binders...

    February 2, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  10. Loki

    republican family values–or have they given up on taking the high moral ground

    February 2, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. David

    I don't get why this has become a deal breaker in the last 40 years or so. Our founding fathers as well as many generals, governors, presidents, business leaders, civil rights leaders, etc have had mistresses, affairs, and sex parties. Some even smoked cigarettes and drank some alcohol /S. This seems to not to have negated the fact that they were great leaders.

    February 2, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. DocHollywood

    The only thing I see he did wrong was to use his state issued cell phone. The article says his wife had divorced him last year, so he's free to talk to whoever he wants when he wants as long as it's not on government time.

    February 2, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. Freddo

    "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."

    It's none of the World-Herald's business who he's talking to. They have no right to request phone records of ANYONE not making calls on government supplied phones.

    What nonsense.

    February 2, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. Hindsight 20/20

    Poor judgement from someone part of the morals & values party.

    February 2, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  15. Joe

    How did he find time to sleep at night? 2000 calls? Wow.

    February 2, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. skytag

    It never ceases to amaze me how even smart people can be so stupid.

    February 2, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. ronjayaz

    Who'd a thought it? I will never understand how TALKING dirty, over the phone no less, cud have any sexual excitement. Poor guy!

    February 2, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. Dave

    What did he do that was illegal? Apparently nothing. It's a shame Americans can't find something worthwhile to focus on; for example, their own business.

    February 2, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Deesnutz

    Charge him with fraud and make him pay the taxpayers money back for that phone useage and also fine him a million+ for using taxpayer money for his own personal gain.

    February 2, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. joesmith

    more reason we need term limits, and adjusting the pay scale downward for our elected officials, and that includes adjusting their retirement payout downward as well..this guy, and others like him deserve no benefits, they have forfeited any through this type of stupidity..moreover, they need to pay back that which they basically stole from the people..

    February 2, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  21. Clarke

    Men should always think with the north brain and leave the south brain at home where it belongs

    February 2, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. Wise1Speak

    2,000 calls on the State's mobile phone? Who paid the bill? The State of Nebraska or Rick Sheehy?

    February 2, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. Lee

    I am a democrat who voted twice for Obama. But to make this out as a political issue is dumber than dirt. Horn dogs come n all shapes sizes and political strode.

    February 2, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. Pete/Ark

    Somehow this has a hollow ring...he's divorced and talks to women...big deal...unless they left something out...or are using it as a smoke screen...hmmmm...

    February 2, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  25. skip

    America-still the land of the puritans.

    February 2, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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