U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer said Thursday that she will not run for governor in 2022, and will instead continue to serve in Washington, D.C.
The decision by the popular Republican, confirmed by The World-Herald, removes the presumed early front-runner from the race, opening the way for more candidates to consider a run.
So far, two GOP candidates, State Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha and Falls City businessman Chuck Herbster, have said they are running. But a long list of other Republicans, and a couple of Democrats, also are viewed as possible candidates.
Dan Welch, who chairs the Nebraska Republican Party, said that there’s no shortage of “good options” of other GOP candidates who will be in the 2022 race.
“The people of Nebraska are well-served by Senator Fischer in the Senate, where she is a tireless advocate for our state’s commerce and a reliable conservative vote,” Welch added.
Ryan Hamilton, the executive director of the Nebraska GOP, added that Fischer would have entered the race with a well-established political base that might have discouraged other candidates from running.
Fischer, a former state senator from Valentine, told KFAB radio on Thursday morning that she loves “the work I do” on Capitol Hill.
“I am a legislator. I am a policymaker,” she said. “The Senate is where I want to continue to serve. So, no, I am not running for governor.”
A press aide for Fischer confirmed that the senator has chosen to remain in the U.S. Senate and said that she would not be making any further comment.
During the radio interview, Fischer thanked those who had encouraged her to run for governor.
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is serving his second term, cannot run in 2022 due to term limits.