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Nebraska GOP lieutenant governor resigns after sister asks for court protection from him

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(Reuters) – Nebraska’s lieutenant governor resigned on Tuesday and withdrew from the Nov. 4 election, a day after a judge entered a protection order against him in a family dispute.

Lavon Heidemann, who was the running mate of Republican candidate for governor Pete Ricketts, said his decision was the best thing for his family and the state. Ricketts named state auditor Mike Foley as his new running mate.

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Heidemann himself had been a replacement for former Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy, who resigned in February 2013 after an Omaha World-Herald newspaper investigation raised questions about improper cell phone calls to women.

Heidemann was accused of grabbing his sister’s wrist during a family dispute and an order of protection was entered on Monday. He read a short statement that did not address the dispute and took no questions at a news conference on Tuesday.

Governor Dave Heineman said Heidemann told him on Monday night of his plan to resign. Heineman said he would move as quickly as possible to name a successor.

The governor praised Heidemann for his work as a state senator and lieutenant governor but circumstances had changed with the protection order.

“As public officials we are held to a higher standard of conduct and we should be,” Heineman said at a news conference. “This is a very unfortunate situation, but Lavon is doing what is appropriate by putting his family first.”

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(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Grant McCool)

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