infoUSA's Stormy Dean Begins Race for NE Governor

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A fitting campaign slogan for infoUSA chief financial officer Stormy Dean, who is running for governor of Nebraska against incumbent Mike Johanns, could be "Better late than never."


Dean is still scrambling to put together a campaign staff after entering the Democratic primary on Valentine's Day. Nearly a month later, "we really are in stage one," Dean said, "where we are just getting the campaign organization together."


The primary is May 14.


Dean has hired a media consultant, said spokesman Mike Kangior, and "we are currently working on our campaign strategy."


When asked if he'd use data from infoUSA in the campaign, Dean answered with a question: "Wouldn't you? The information available in the direct marketing practices that our industry uses translates very well into campaigns."


Dean's boss at infoUSA, CEO Vin Gupta, is a staunch Democrat and generous supporter of former President Clinton and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.


Dean, a third-generation Nebraskan who has never run for public office, lived in other states during the early 1980s but returned to Nebraska in 1986. He was a Republican until the mid-90s and then became an Independent. He switched to the Democratic Party in 1998, though he considers himself "very much still a conservative," especially in fiscal matters.


Dean is president of the Ralston, NE, board of education and serves on the board of Greater Omaha Workforce Development.


The catalyst for running for governor, he said, came when as school board president he decided that state government was not being run correctly. That and a telephone call from Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson.


Dean also said his role as infoUSA's chief financial officer would help him as governor since more than half of the governor's job is overseeing Nebraska's budget.


"Revenues are not meeting expectations, and expenses are higher than the revenues," he said. "These are the kinds of things that a chief financial officer has to deal with every day. We had to deal with that at infoUSA five quarters ago, and we had to react quickly."


He is referring to infoUSA's 2000 fourth-quarter sales of $70.4 million, $7.3 million less than the year before.


Though Dean is expected to breeze through the Democratic nomination, he does have one opponent in the primary: Luis Calvillo, a retired gas station attendant who ran in the 1998 Democratic primary but pulled only 1.3 percent of the vote.


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