This story starts in 2005-current Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman was then serving out a term having succeeded Mike Johanns who left to become Bush's Secretary of Agriculture. Normally in Nebraska being a Republican in an election year provides for an easy ride. Only one problem: Beloved retired football coach(and 3rd District US rep) wanted to come home and decided to run for governor. Osborne's entry into the race also had the effect of scaring off potential Democratic candidates to since it changed what would have been a long shot anyway to a lost cause.
According to polling for the governor’s campaign back in June 2005, Osborne started the race with incredible 90% favorable/7% unfavorable ratings and a 56%-32% advantage over Heineman in the primary match-up.Heineman campaign
Though Osborne was popular among his largely rural constituents, he had spent much of his time in Nebraska in Lincoln, and in the primaries, connected more with urban voters. Heineman, seeing the opportunity for a primary victory, campaigned heavily in rural areas. Osbourne was a soft-spoken, low-profile congressman, amenable to bipartisanship, famously teaming with outspoken liberal Ernie Chambers as spokesmen for a gambling ban in the state. He also differed with his party on issues such as the death penalty, where he claimed his years as football coach had shown him a justice system disproportionately skewed towards penalizing minorities.As it turned out, Heineman had a perfect vehicle to cement his image as an anti-immigrant: The Nebraska Unicameral had passed a version of the Dream Act allowing children of undocumented migrants to receive in state tuition in some circumstances and Heineman couldn't wait to veto it. However, the veto was overriden which gave him more opportunity to rail against immigrants.
Experience had taught Heineman that a trigger issue for rural voters was the supposed looming threat of immigration, and in a nakedly political move, he made it his campaign issue.
Heineman went on to win the primary and predictably the general election and although it took a few election cycles and newly passed term limits, the state senators who had supported the in-state tuition were replaced by teabaggers. Aided by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a series of bills were passed to cut back immigration rights. It culminated in Heineman vetoing a bill passed by the Nebraska Unicameral to provide pre-natal benefits to undocumented women. A coalition of liberal and conservative groups worked to successfully lobby the state senators to override the veto.
Did I mention he also badgered the Legislature not to pass Medicaid expansion?
Fast forward to 2014, Heineman himself is being term-limited and chose not to run for Senator. Instead, he had a more lucrative target: University of Nebraska President. Were it not for his political connections having appointed or campaigned for most of the University Regents who will choose the president, Heineman probably wouldn't even get an interview Heineman application:
The 66-year-old conservative Republican who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point said he realizes he has some "challenges" to overcome as an academic leader, particularly his lack of a master's or doctorate degree and lack of experience with the culture of higher education.A Facebook page has sprung up contesting his application. Facebook link
He made it clear that if selected for the post, his job would be to "execute the vision" laid out by the NU Board of Regents. Heineman, for instance, said he would not seek to change current NU policies that he has opposed in the past, including charging in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants, allowing stem-cell research, and providing job benefits to same-sex couples.
The page details all his offenses in regard to his job search including using government resources to apply. Despite this, it looks like minus a huge public outcry, the only people who could stop his ascension to the position are his 2006 primary opponent and recent athletic director Tom Osborne and Warren Buffett, who funds scholarships for needy students and donates generously to his former university. Heineman's public application and inappropriate contact with the regents reviewing the applicants have pretty much guaranteed there won't be many other candidates to choose from.