- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said Thursday that his cancer diagnosis last year has led him to consider a last-minute run for governor.

Bruning said he has consulted with family and friends about joining the 2014 Republican primary race, little more than two weeks before the Feb. 18 filing deadline. Bruning underwent surgery for colon cancer in December, when doctors removed lymph nodes and eight inches of his colon. He was later declared cancer-free.

Bruning had previously announced plans to seek re-election to a fourth term as attorney general, but he said the cancer scare led him to re-evaluate his priorities in life. He said he has received dozens of phone calls and text messages asking him to look at the race.

“A lot has changed for me,” Bruning said. The cancer diagnosis “makes you a different person, makes you realize that you have a limited amount of time on Earth, and you ask yourself where you could do the most good. I think it makes you more empathetic toward people who are suffering.”

The 44-year-old has until the Feb. 18 filing deadline to enter the six-way GOP race to replace Gov. Dave Heineman. If he runs, Bruning would enter the race with immediate statewide name recognition. Bruning has twice run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, most recently in the 2012 race won by Republican U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer. He has served at Attorney General since 2003, and was previously a Nebraska state senator.

“Obviously I’ve got to make a decision this week or the week after, but it takes time to talk with family and friends,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to become more humble over the years, between losing (the 2012) race and getting cancer.”

Bruning has an $850,000 campaign fund available if he were to run for governor. The other Republican candidates are Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts, State Auditor Mike Foley of Lincoln, Omaha tax attorney Bryan Sloan, and Nebraska state Sens. Charlie Janssen, Tom Carlson and Beau McCoy.

Former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

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