Omaha, Neb. — David Karnes, an Omaha civic leader who was briefly a U.S. senator from Nebraska, has died. Karnes died Sunday from cancer. He was 71. Then-Gov. Kay Orr shocked state Republicans when she appointed Karnes in 1987 to fill the unexpired term of Democrat U.S. Sen. Ed Zorinsky, who had died of a heart attack. Karnes ran unsuccessfully for a full term in 1988, losing to Bob Kerrey. The Omaha World-Herald reports Karnes was an attorney in Omaha and Washington D.C., and was involved in numerous civic organizations and lobbying work for Nebraska in Washington. Most recently, he helped Omaha secure part federal coronavirus funding for the city.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Deb Fischer on Sunday released a statement following the passing of former U.S. Senator David Karnes.
“Nebraskans admired Senator Karnes’ dedicated service and his commitment to our state and his community. I always appreciated his support and was honored to have him escort me on the floor of the U.S. Senate when I was sworn in for my first term. I will miss conversations with my good friend. My condolences go out to his wife Kris, his children, and his family as they mourn this difficult loss.”
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse:
Washington, D.C. — U.S Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement after the death of former Nebraska Senator Dave Karnes.
“This is heartbreaking news. Dave was a great man who tirelessly served Nebraskans. His work in Washington and here at home helped so many folks across our state. His selflessness and hard work made Nebraska proud. Melissa and I are praying for Dave’s wife and daughters.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts:
Lincoln, Neb. — Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement on Sunday following news that former U.S. Senator Dave Karnes had passed away:
“Susanne and I are deeply saddened to learn of Dave’s passing. He was a great Nebraskan, a public servant, and a devoted father and husband. We ask that all Nebraskans keep the Karnes family in their prayers as we remember his legacy and celebrate his life.”