Omaha Sen. Bob Krist on Tuesday ended speculation about whether he would seek a higher office and whether he would change his political affiliation.
Krist said he and his wife, Peggy, have decided he will run again for his legislative seat in 2014.
Krist, a Republican, had been thinking about running for Congress against Lee Terry, and there was speculation he might change parties and become a Democrat to do that.
“We found that as a family … that wasn’t the right decision for us,” he said of the congressional campaign. “The time away right now is not something that I want to do.”
He already had said he would not seek the governor’s seat. That race is filling quickly with candidates, and there may be more to come, Krist said.
He will stick with the Republican Party, he said, even though he has become “deeply concerned” that it has become so fractured it is not communicating well with its base.
“With the Libertarians on one side and the (Americans for Prosperity) or tea party folks on the other side, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of communication, a lot of centrist movement within the Republican Party. And that’s where I think I’m at,” he said.
If lucky enough to get re-elected to the Legislature, he said, he will continue to listen, communicate and try to approach issues as a statesman — not to be an obstructionist. The unicameral Legislature is special, and once party politics are introduced its tradition can be destroyed, Krist said.
There have been accusations by some that he is not a “real” Republican, he said.
Ronald Reagan is probably as close to a “real” Republican as he knows of, he said, communicating to both sides and building consensus.
“That’s what I think I need to do,” he said.
District 10 encompasses northwest Omaha, the city of Bennington and part of Douglas County.
Candidates can’t file until Dec. 1. The incumbents’ deadline is Feb. 15 and non-incumbents must file by March 1.
Krist, 56, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979-2000. He works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers northwest division aviation program.
He was appointed to the Legislature by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2009 to replace Sen. Mike Friend. He was elected in 2010, and serves as vice chairman of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council and on the General Affairs, Health and Human Services and Urban Affairs committees.