FULLERTON — State Sen. Annette Dubas cited stress and the toll on her family when announcing her withdrawal from the governor’s race Monday morning.
The two-term senator from Fullerton announced her candidacy for governor in September.
“It was just the stress of running a statewide campaign, being away from home, trying to juggle everything. It is a lot of things that are very demanding and it just got to the point where it was unmanageable,” Dubas said, noting she made the decision this past week. “Things kind of came to a head for my family. It became obvious that it was going to be very difficult to go forward.”
She had toured the state after establishing her campaign and earned the support of a dozen fellow state lawmakers. She and former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook were the only Democrats running to replace Gov. Dave Heineman, who will be leaving office in 2014 due to term limits.
Dubas said the decision was hard because she felt like she was letting down her supporters, “yet not so hard because my family is my priority. My husband is certainly my priority.”
She cited her husband, Ron, at home running the farm as one of the factors in her decision. She and Ron Dubas have four children.
“It’s not just about the candidate. The family is certainly impacted as well,” Dubas said. “You know, we thought we had covered all the bases and we had talked this through and really felt like it was something we could handle, but sometimes you just don’t know until you are into it.”
“It’s difficult when you know you are disappointing people, but at the end of the day my family is my priority,” Dubas said, adding that supporters have been “disappointed but very understanding, especially those who have dealt with campaigns before and know the rigors of a statewide campaign.”
Hassebrook admitted he was surprised when he heard Dubas was dropping out of the race. He said he wishes Dubas, whom he called a “friend and great state senator,” the best in the future but it doesn’t really change the way he plans to run his campaign.
“My campaign has been very focused on building strength to win in November,” Hassebrook said. “All the things I needed to do if I had a primary challenge are the same things I need to do to win in November.”
Dubas, who has been in public office for many years, including Fullerton and Nance County Planning and Zoning Commission, said she hasn’t made any decisions about running in any future political races.
“I don’t know where the road takes me,” she said, noting that there is a lot of work yet to do in the Nebraska Legislature. “I still have a year left to be a senator and want to assure (everyone) that I will continue carrying out that responsibility.”
During her announcement in Lincoln, Dubas noted that she will continue to tackle difficult issues, such as marriage equality, the state foster care system and Medicaid expansion.
“Nebraska is a great place to live, but we must make sure it is that way for all citizens,” she said. “My exit from this race does not mean I am any less committed to these and other important issues facing Nebraskans.”
Dubas said she has no regrets about her brief run.
“It has been just such an incredible honor for me to represent the Grand Island area and District 34,” Dubas said. “So many people have been supportive of me when I made this decision to run for governor.”