Don Stenberg

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Don Stenberg
Don Stenberg.jpg
Treasurer of Nebraska
Assumed office
January 6, 2011
Governor Dave Heineman
Pete Ricketts
Preceded by Shane Osborn
30th Attorney General of Nebraska
In office
January 14, 1991 – January 13, 2003
Governor Ben Nelson
Mike Johanns
Preceded by Robert Spire
Succeeded by Jon Bruning
Personal details
Born (1948-09-20) September 20, 1948 (age 67)
Tekamah, Nebraska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sue Hoegemeyer
Alma mater University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Harvard University
Website Campaign website

Don Stenberg (born September 30, 1948) is a Republican politician and attorney from Nebraska. He currently serves as State Treasurer of Nebraska, having been elected to the post in 2010. He previously served as Attorney General of Nebraska from 1991 to 2003 and also served as legal counsel to Governor Charles Thone from 1979 to 1983. He has run unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska in 1978, Attorney General in 1986 and for the United States Senate in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2012.

Early life, education, and law career[edit]

Stenberg was born and raised in Tekamah, Nebraska. To pay for college, he detasseled corn, hauled bales, mowed lawns, and life guarded at the local swimming pool. After graduating from University of Nebraska–Lincoln (1970), Harvard Law School (1974), and Harvard Business School (1974) he practiced law in Lincoln.[1]

Early political career (1978–1989)[edit]

1978 run for Lieutenant Governor[edit]

In 1978, Stenberg ran for Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, coming in fourth in the Republican primary with just 13% of the vote. Roland A. Luedtke won the primary with a plurality of 31%.[2]

Thone administration[edit]

In 1979, he was named as Legal Counsel to Republican Governor of Nebraska Charles Thone. Don has also served as Director of the Governor’s Policy Research Office, Assistant to the Governor, and Director of the Department of Administrative Services.[3]

1986 run for Attorney General[edit]

He first ran for Nebraska Attorney General in 1986, but lost in the Republican primary to incumbent Robert Spire 53%–47%.[4]

State Attorney General (1991–2003)[edit]


In 1990, he ran for Attorney General again. In the Republican primary, he won with a plurality of 38%.[5] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Gene Crump 54%–46%.[6] He won re-election in 1994 (67%) and 1998 (68%).


Stenberg was the named defendant in the noted Supreme Court abortion case, Stenberg v. Carhart 530 U.S. 914 (2000).[7]

1996 U.S. Senate election[edit]

Stenberg first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996 to succeed retiring Democratic U.S. Senator J. James Exon. Initially seen as the frontrunner, he was defeated by business executive Chuck Hagel 62%–38%.[8] Hagel went on to win an upset against Democratic Governor Ben Nelson.

2000 U.S. Senate election[edit]

After being re-elected Attorney General in 1998, Stenberg again ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 to succeed retiring Democrat U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. He won the six candidate primary with 50% of the vote.[9] In one of the closest elections in Nebraska history, Nelson defeated Stenberg 51%–49%,[10] even as Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush won the state with 62%.

Post-Attorney General career (2003–present)[edit]

Private sector[edit]

Stenberg left office as Attorney General in 2003 and returned to work in the private sector as of counsel at Erickson and Sederstrom, the same firm where his former boss, Charles Thone, is a partner.

2006 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In 2006, Stenberg launched his third bid for the U.S. Senate. Once again, an early frontrunner, he was defeated by former Ameritrade chief operating officer Pete Ricketts 48%–38%.[11] Ricketts went on to lose to incumbent U.S. Senator Nelson.

State Treasurer[edit]

In 2010, Stenberg ran for Nebraska State Treasurer to succeed retiring Shane Osborn. He won the primary over state Senator Tony Fulton 52%–28%[12] and won the general election with 73% of the vote.[13]

2012 U.S. Senate election[edit]

In 2011, he announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate a fourth time. After receiving endorsements from fiscally conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Freedomworks, Stenberg split the Tea Party vote with attorney general Jon Brunning . Stenberg came in third place, taking 18.8% of the vote. The nomination went to State senator Deb Fischer.

2014 election[edit]

Following the withdrawal of the two leading candidates for the Republican nomination for Governor, Stenberg said that he would consider "what is the best way to serve the state of Nebraska". He has said that it was "unlikely, but possible" that he would run for Governor.[14] He also considered running for the open U.S. Senate seat, but decided instead to run for re-election to a second term as Treasurer.[15]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Sue Hoegemeyer of Hooper, Nebraska. They have been married 39 years and have four children.


  1. ^ "More About Don | Stenberg for Senate 2012". 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  2. ^ "NE Lt. Governor – R Primary Race – May 09, 1978". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "NE Attorney General – R Primary Race – May 13, 1986". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  5. ^ "NE Attorney General – R Primary Race – May 15, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  6. ^ "NE Attorney General Race – Nov 06, 1990". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  7. ^ "Stenberg v. Carhart – 530 U.S. 914 (2000) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center". Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  8. ^ "NE US Senate – R Primary Race – May 14, 1996". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  9. ^ "NE US Senate- R Primary Race – May 09, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  10. ^ "NE US Senate Race – Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  11. ^ "NE US Senate – R Primary Race – May 09, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  12. ^ "NE Treasurer- R Primary Race – May 11, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  13. ^ "NE Treasurer Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  14. ^ Hammel, Paul (February 7, 2013). "Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg pondering governor bid". Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ Martin, Brent (December 4, 2013). "Treasurer Stenberg to run for re-election, not governor or Senate (AUDIO)". Nebraska Radio Network. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert Spire
Attorney General of Nebraska
Succeeded by
Jon Bruning
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jan Stoney
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nebraska
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Peter Ricketts
Political offices
Preceded by
Shane Osborn
Treasurer of Nebraska