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The election of Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen to the office of state auditor leaves a vacancy in the Legislature in District 15.

Janssen has two years left on his legislative term.

The new senator will be named by Gov. Dave Heineman, who said Wednesday nothing has been determined on filling the seat.

Janssen does not know when he will submit his resignation, he said, but he has to resign before the start of the 2015 session, according to state law. The swearing-in date for state auditor is Jan. 8, a day after the Legislature begins.

"I'll stay on as long as I'm needed to be there," Janssen said. "If the governor finds somebody that's suitable to replace me, I would step down in a heartbeat, to make sure that the new senator had time to fill out their staff and also look at legislation."

Multiple people from his legislative district have contacted Janssen with questions about the possibility of filling the seat. He told them to wait until after the election, he said.

"I'm certain I'll be fielding some calls, emails and texts in that regard here in the next 48 to 72 hours," Janssen said Wednesday.

He said he'll continue to live in Fremont and commute to his job as auditor.

"So it's a very, very, very important (appointment) for me because they will be my state senator," he said.

Because there are two years left on his term, the question comes up again about how long an appointee ultimately could serve, if he or she would be elected after being appointed. Six years or 10?

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Sen. Tony Fulton in District 29 had the same question in 2011, and in the end was allowed only six years -- two as an appointee and four as an elected senator. He was appointed by Heineman in late November 2006 to fill then-Sen. Mike Foley's seat when Foley resigned to become state auditor.

Fulton was sworn in at the start of the 2007 regular session and then elected in 2008 to a four-year term.

Fulton said he was told at the time of appointment he could serve only six years if elected after filling the rest of Foley's term. Then, Attorney General Jon Bruning issued a formal opinion saying Fulton could seek another term.

But in September 2011, Secretary of State John Gale said Fulton had served more than half a term and after another full term was not eligible to run again. Gale said Bruning's opinion stretched the current language of the Constitution too far, and the customary way to resolve differences of interpretation of a law was in the courts.


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