InfoUSA's Dean Wins NE Gubernatorial Primary

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InfoUSA chief financial officer Stormy Dean won the Democratic primary for governor of Nebraska on May 14 and will face GOP Gov. Mike Johanns.


Dean, who scrambled to put together a campaign after entering the primary on St. Valentine's Day, won 78 percent of the vote against Luis Calvillo, a self-employed jewelry salesman and retired gas station attendant. Calvillo ran in the 1998 Democratic primary but pulled only 1.3 percent of the vote.


Though Dean did not use data from infoUSA to target voters in his campaign, the state Democratic Party sent 25,000 to 45,000 direct mail pieces to Democratic voters in Douglas County, the state's largest county. Nebraska has 379,551 registered Democratic voters.


"It was a piece targeted at Nebraska Democrats to push them out and vote," said Rick Carter, a spokesman for Dean.


Dean, 44, 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, 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.


Dean has said his role as chief financial officer for database services provider infoUSA would help him as governor because the majority of the governor's job is overseeing Nebraska's budget.


Carter said that Dean plans targeted direct mail to Democrats and Republicans in the next leg of the campaign, especially since more than half of Nebraska voters are registered Republicans. The election is Nov. 5.


"We will do whatever it takes to win this election, and one of the ways to do this is to reach out and identify voters with a targeted message," Carter said. "We will appeal on our messages, and Stormy's message appeals to all voters, regardless of their parties."


Carter said Dean's message centers on leadership and protecting spending priorities such as education, healthcare and economic development as well as identifying ways to "streamline, reduce and eliminate."


Details for the direct mail campaign will play out over the next several months, Carter said. Dean hired a media consultant during the first phase of the campaign and will work with that person on campaign strategy.


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