The political fallout from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning's recent decision to run for governor continued Friday, as State Sen. Pete Pirsch announced he wants Bruning's job.
In October, Pirsch said he planned to run for state auditor. Friday, however, the Omaha Republican switched to the attorney general's race.
“This is a long-held passion and interest,” Pirsch said. “My background is ideally suited to make a difference in this position.”
Bruning had planned to run for re-election before changing to the governor's race. As Bruning's switch became more likely, Lincoln attorney Doug Peterson, a Republican, recently announced that he would run for attorney general.
Pirsch, 44, has served as a state senator for eight years, representing west Omaha. He said he has sponsored bills to protect children from sex offenders, stiffen DUI penalties for repeat offenders and ensure that victims of violent crime received restitution. He has twice been given the annual public policy award by the Nebraska Coalition for Victims of Crime.
Standing outside the Secretary of State's Office after filing his candidacy, Pirsch emphasized his support of the death penalty and of harsh punishments for violent criminals. He touted his conservative voting record, his pro-life beliefs and his limited-government philosophy.
“I've got a record, and I'm proud of that record,” he said.
The senator did not take a position Friday on Nebraska's good-time law but said the state has a responsibility to protect its citizens.
“There are some individuals out there, I can tell you as a prosecutor, who are just all kinds of violent, and you can see it coming, and that's the kind of individual that Nebraskans expect you're using your prisons for,” he said.
Pirsch also has been a criminal prosecutor for the City of Omaha and an appointed member of the Nebraska Crime Commission. He said he wants to continue a family tradition of public service, noting that his mother was a state senator and his father was an employee of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
“With the support of the people of Nebraska, I hope to carry on this important tradition,” he said.