Two political newcomers are considering running for U.S. Senate in Nebraska.
Patrick Borchers, former vice president of academic affairs of Creighton University as well as former dean of the Creighton Law School, and Bartholomew McLeay, an Omaha trial attorney, are reportedly considering bids for the seat now held by Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican who is not seeking re-election.
Borchers confirmed his interest while McLeay, who works for Kutak Rock, could not be reached for comment Friday. Both are Republicans.
“I have been encouraged to think about it, and that's what I'll do. I'll fish or cut bait in a week or two,” said Borchers, 51.
“I'm very concerned about the debt my generation is piling up on the next. Whether that involves me running for Senate or not, I'm just hoping to be part of the solution,” he said.
Neither Borchers nor McLeay has run for statewide office here.
Several businessmen, politicians and others are looking at the contest in the wake of Gov. Dave Heineman's decision not to run.
With Heineman out, the race is wide open.
On the GOP side, former State Treasurer Shane Osborn was the first to jump in.
Osborn has already hired a political team, including David Boomer, a widely known political consultant who ran many of U.S. Rep. Lee Terry's campaigns.
Also considering a run is Pete Ricketts, a businessman who lost to then-U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson in 2006.
Ben Sasse, president of Midland University, has launched a listening tour.
So far, no Democrat has announced.
Many Democrats are pinning their hopes on former Lt. Gov. Kim Robak, who has said that it is unlikely she would run, but she has not slammed the door shut.
Borchers, currently director of the Werner Institute at Creighton, said one consideration will be money. Can he raise enough to be competitive?
“There are clearly people who are encouraging me to run. I think a part of it is they would kind of like to see a new face in the race,” he said.
A source said McLeay, a partner at Kutak Rock, has been calling around, talking to Republicans and indicating he would announce his candidacy next week.
McLeay is a widely respected trial attorney who has focused his career on commercial litigation.