|Nebraska Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jon Bruning made a campaign stop in Falls City last Wednesday at A&G Restaurant, meeting with a group of about a dozen citizens, including officials from the Chamber of Commerce, the Sheriff’s Office and City Council, and members of the media. Photo by Jason Schock.|
Nebraska Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jon Bruning’s 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate was undermined by a barrage of attack ads by outside organizations and his opponents are back at it now, as the 44-year-old leads a group of six candidates for the GOP nomination.
Bruning didn’t respond in kind then – and wound up losing his early advantage and inevitably that primary to a lesser-known candidate – and says he won’t resort to similar tactics this time around either. Voters, he said, don’t want to hear it.
“I think Nebraskans are too smart and I don’t think they’ll allow the election to be bought. I think I know the people here and they can sort through B.S.,” he said.
Bruning made a campaign stop in Falls City last Wednesday at A&G Restaurant, meeting with a group of about a dozen citizens, including officials from the Chamber of Commerce, the Sheriff’s Office and City Council, and members of the media.
“I’m going to stay above that – Nebraskans want to talk about the issues,” he said. “Any candidate who does engage in that won’t win.”
Bruning was the last of six – Pete Ricketts, Bryan Slone, Tom Carlson, Mike Foley and Beau McCoy – to announce his candidacy, but immediately assumed front-runner status. That’s thanks largely to strong name recognition gained from a 17-year political career which began in the Nebraska Unicameral. He’s served as attorney general since 2003. His loss to Deb Fischer in 2012 was the lone political defeat of his career.
“It’s humbling to lose and Deb Fischer is doing a great job,” he said. “Life has a way of humbling all of us.”
Bruning underwent successful treatment for colon cancer late last year and said that, too, has helped him put politics in better perspective. “Anybody who goes through a health scare like I did knows it humbles you. But I’ve been blessed and I feel great.”
On the campaign trail, Bruning touts a conservative track record a far more political experience than any of his opponents. He became the youngest member of the Nebraska Legislature at the age of 27, campaigning on smaller government, lower taxes, opposition to abortion and support of capital punishment.
Most of his work as attorney general has carried a tough on crime theme. He also worked to change the state’s execution method from electrocution to lethal injection. That change in protocol has proven very difficult to carry out. Two of the three drugs used to carry out the death penalty are hard to come by.
“We’re going to try and change the protocal again,” he said, noting a desire to switch to a single-drug protocol.
“But as soon as you pick one, the anti-death penalty people make it tough to get,” Bruning said.
Prison over-crowding has become one of the main topics of the campaign and Bruning said he’s against building a new prison. Instead, he supports the idea of moving prisoners to county jails, which would directly affect Richardson County if a new 24-bed facility comes to fruition, as is the objective of County Sheriff Randy Houser, who attended the meeting at A&G.
“I’d rather see the state use that money on tax reform,” Bruning said. “We’ve worked on the problem. Maybe we could get you some nights,” he told Houser.
“But we’re not going to send you the 10 biggest monsters we got.”