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More faces jump into 2014 races for Nebraska Legislature

More faces jump into 2014 races for Nebraska Legislature

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LINCOLN — At least 10 more candidates have announced recently that they plan to run for the Nebraska Legislature in 2014.

Eight are seeking open seats that incumbent state senators are barred from seeking due to term limits. Two of the new candidates are challenging current senators.

One, Gwenn Aspen, a property manager, is seeking the north-central Omaha District 8 seat now held by Sen. Burke Harr, who plans to seek re-election.

Aspen, a 32-year-old Republican, was active in the unsuccessful effort to recall then-Mayor Jim Suttle in 2011. Her husband, Jeremy, led the recall effort. Harr, a 41-year-old attorney, is a Democrat.

Former Cass County Board member Ron Nolte of rural Murray has announced he will challenge Sen. Bill Kintner in eastern Nebraska's District 2.

Nolte, a 68-year-old Republican who works as a farmer and commercial pilot, was an unsuccessful candidate for the post in 2012, when Kintner upset then-Sen. Paul Lambert of Plattsmouth.

Others who have said they are running:

» Joni Craighead, currently government affairs director for the Omaha Board of Realtors, is seeking to represent central Omaha's District 6, where incumbent Sen. John Nelson is term-limited. Craighead is a 59-year-old former chairwoman of the Douglas County Republican Party.

» Brett Lindstrom, an Omaha financial adviser, is seeking the District 18 seat now held by Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, who will be leaving the Legislature due to term limits. Lindstrom, a 32-year-old Republican, unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Lee Terry for the GOP nomination for the House race last year.

» Laura Baumgartner, an advertising project manager, is seeking the District 20 seat in west-central Omaha being vacated by Sen. Brad Ashford, who is term-limited. Baumgartner is a 25-year-old Democrat seeking elected office for the first time.

» Former Henderson Mayor Curt Friesen, a farmer active in water issues, is running in central Nebraska's District 34, where incumbent Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton is term-limited.

Friesen, a 58-year-old Republican, narrowly lost a bid for the Legislature in 2006 against Greg Adams of York, who is now speaker of the Legislature.

» Lincoln attorney Dallas Jones and family physician Dr. Bob Rauner both will seek to represent central Lincoln's 28th District. Incumbent Sen. Bill Avery is barred from running due to term limits.

They join two other candidates, Patty Pansing Brooks and Tyler Richard, who previously announced their candidacies. Jones is a Republican; Rauner is a registered independent.

» Benkelman farmer and cow-calf operator Steve Stroup and Venango farmer Dan Hughes have announced they are running in District 44, in southwest Nebraska. Both are Republicans.

They join McCook Mayor Dennis Berry in the race to replace Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, who is term-limited.

By state law, candidates for the Legislature cannot officially file for offices until Dec. 1.

Because of term limits, 17 state senators in the 49-seat one-house Legislature are barred from seeking re-election in 2014.

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