NET focuses on Johanns, Kleeb race

Oct 9th, 2008 | By | Category: Campus News, October 9, 2008

One man was born on an Iowa dairy farm. The other, born and reared on military bases throughout Europe. Both men are major party candidates vying for Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Chuck Hagel.

Mike Johanns

Republican Mike Johanns and Democrat Scott Kleeb have different backgrounds and different views, but each has the same political goal. NET Television profiles the two candidates in “Johanns vs. Kleeb: Nebraska’s Senate Race,” airing at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 on NET1 and NET-HD. It repeats at noon on Oct. 19 on NET1 and NET-HD, and at 1 p.m. Oct. 17; 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 18; and at 1 p.m. Oct. 25 on NET2.

Republican Mike Johanns is a lawyer by training. As a former Nebraska governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, he’s no stranger to the campaign trail. Johanns has been in politics almost non-stop since 1983, when he was first elected to the Lancaster County Board. Democrat Scott Kleeb was headed for an academic career with his Ivy League education, but emerged as a political newcomer when he ran for Congress in Nebraska’s Third District in 2006. Although Kleeb lost the election, he finished closer than expected in the heavily Republican region. Johanns has never lost an election.

Scott Kleeb

In “Johanns vs. Kleeb: Nebraska’s Senate Race,” NET Television senior producer Mike Tobias delves into the personal stories, experiences and influences that shaped the political beliefs of each candidate. The program is the product of hours of on-camera and background interviews with the candidates themselves, as well as the family and friends who know them best. Tobias also spent a day on the campaign trail with each candidate and followed the two men to campaign activities such as election night gatherings and debates.

“Johanns vs. Kleeb: Nebraska’s Senate Race” is part of “Campaign Connection ’08,” NET’s comprehensive effort to educate Nebraskans about the upcoming elections, including Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race. The “Campaign Connection ’08” Web site ( includes complete interviews with Johanns, Kleeb and Green Party Candidate Steve Larrick, video of debates and an online voters’ guide, with each candidate responding to 10 questions about important issues. Nebraska Party candidate Kelly Rosberg did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, and is not included in any of the projects.

The site also offers perspectives on the presidential race through the video diaries of Nebraskans, a look back at the 1968 presidential race and access to the interactive game “Budget Hero.” Web links to recent video reports on election issues and other campaign-related Web sites, as well as a section where voters can share their own thoughts and stories by posting video, audio or text in an online space are also included.

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