Osborne wants to rule Nebraska

Posted: Sunday, May 01, 2005

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne plans to seek the Republican nomination for governor instead of a fourth term in Congress.

The 68-year-old Osborne made the announcement Saturday in his hometown at Hastings College, his alma mater.

''You can tell by looking at me that I've got more miles behind me than I've got in front of me,'' said Osborne, who retired as a coach at the end of the 1997 season.

''When you reach that point, if you've got some good years left, you want to make sure that you use them wisely.''

Osborne has hinted about seeking the gubernatorial nomination for months. The decision to run took him more than a year, he said. Osborne, who had open heart surgery 20 years ago, said he had a physical and talked with his doctor before making decision, ''to make sure I'd be vertical for the next five years.''

Retiring wasn't really an option for him, Osborne told the crowd of about 100 people including family members, well-wishers and the media.

''I'm not really good at retiring. I tried that one time and Nancy ran me out of the house,'' Osborne said, referring to his wife.

If elected, Osborne said that he intended to serve only one term but would not rule out a second term if he felt it were necessary.

To get to the governor's mansion, the famed former coach will face at least two opponents in the Republican primary — Gov. Dave Heineman and Omaha businessman David Nabity.

Osborne has parlayed his enormous popularity into a political career. He won three national titles in his last four years at Nebraska, got 82 percent of the vote in his first run for Congress in 2000, 93 percent in his re-election bid in 2002 and 87 percent last year.

In his announcement, Osborne also set out three main goals that he would try accomplish if elected, such as helping unite the state, which he said is often divided into factions such as east and west and urban and rural.

He noted that he worked to unite his football teams for the common goal of winning.

''That same type of thinking can certainly translate to the state of Nebraska,'' Osborne said.

Mark Quandahl, chairman of the state GOP, welcomed Osborne's announcement.

''Congressman Osborne is a great American,'' Quandahl said. ''He's done a great job as our congressman for the 3rd District, and he's a good example of a public servant living his life and exercising his public duties in a manner that makes all Nebraskans proud.''



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