Once upon a time, conventional wisdom dictated that the siren call of the nation's capital was irresistible to a politician.
So it was refreshing when Gov. Dave Heineman said no to a seat in the U.S. Senate, which some call the most exclusive club in the world. For once, the cynics were wrong.
Considering Heineman's dominance in the Nebraska GOP, and with the state's Democrats in disarray, he could have moved from the governor's office to Washington, D.C., without breaking a sweat.
Heineman is famous for touting the good life in Nebraska. It's clear now he was not just a mouthing a smarmy political statement.
By choosing to stay in Nebraska, Heineman affirms the similar decisions by countless other Nebraskans who have chosen to make this state their home.
Evidently, his values have not changed that much since he was aide to Rep. Hal Daub in the 1980s, and sometimes made a 36-hour round trip by car to get back to Nebraska for a weekend.
There's little doubt, nonetheless, that the luster of serving in the Senate has dulled because of the toxic atmosphere in Washington. In making his announcement, Heineman acknowledge that the current dysfunction was part of the reason he said no to running for the seat.
There also is the pull to accomplish more as governor. By staying out of the Senate race, Heineman retains maximum leverage to continue his push for reform of Nebraska's tax structure.
Heineman's legacy already includes the biggest tax cut in the state's history.
But it's clear he wants more before he ends his career as the longest-serving governor in the state's history.
As the Journal Star's Don Walton reported, during the news conference on his Senate decision, the governor five times voiced his determination to achieve additional tax reduction.
So now the clouds have lifted from the state's political landscape.
Anticipate the likelihood of a spirited Republican primary battle for the party's nomination for Senate.
Prepare for a sustained and vigorous battle over Nebraska's tax structure.
The energetic reaction to the governor's tax reform legislation this year showed that substantial change won't be easy.
But Heineman, arguably one of the most powerful governors in the state's history, is staying on his home turf.