Although normally a Republican state, in difficult times Nebraska voters have occasionally abandoned the Republican Party. From 1901 to World War I, Democrats and Republicans rather evenly divided control of the state, and William Jennings Bryan played a major role in the state’s political affairs. In the 1920s state officers were generally Republican, although the Democrats did continue to elect some U.S. representatives. In the 1930s the Democrats controlled the state’s political offices. In the 1920s and the 1930s the single most influential politician in Nebraska was U.S. Senator George Norris. Nominally a Republican, his support of an active government role in alleviating social and economic problems attracted votes from Republicans and Democrats alike.
In 1924 Norris publicly supported Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, against Republican President Calvin Coolidge (Coolidge won), and subsequently fought Coolidge’s policies in the Senate. His support for Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York greatly irritated the national Republican Party. By 1936 neither Norris nor the Republican Party wanted each other; in his last two campaigns that year and in 1942 he ran as an independent.
Nebraskans also experimented with their form of government. In 1934 the state constitution was amended to provide for a unicameral legislature of 43 members elected on ballots that did not list party affiliation. The first session of the unicameral legislature convened in 1937. In 1963 the membership was increased to 49.
From 1940 until 1959 Nebraska elected only Republican governors. A period of Democratic control began in 1959 and lasted until 1967, when a Republican became governor after the first election for a four-year term. The state elected a Democrat in 1970 and reelected him in 1974. A Republican was elected in 1978 and a Democrat in 1982.
In 1986 Republican Kay Orr, a former state treasurer, and Democrat Helen Boosalis, a former Lincoln mayor, competed for the governorship—the first time in the nation’s history that both major parties had nominated women for the highest office in any state. Orr won, becoming the first female Republican governor in U.S. history. In 1990, however, Orr was defeated by Democrat Benjamin Nelson, an insurance executive who attacked Orr for raising taxes and supporting a proposed low-level nuclear waste dump. Nelson was reelected in 1994. In 1998 Republican Mike Johanns was elected governor. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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