LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Gov. Pete Ricketts formally endorsed a candidate Tuesday in the race to be his successor.
After months of speculation, Ricketts announced his endorsement of
Jim Pillen ahead of “fly-around tour” promoting the gubernatorial candidate.
“Jim Pillen is a lifelong ag producer, a Nebraska job-creator, and a conservative fighter with a proven record of defending our values. Whether creating Nebraska jobs, fighting Critical Race Theory at the University system, or supporting his fellow ag producers, Jim has consistently shown he’s a leader of principle and integrity. Nebraska will be in great hands with Jim Pillen as our next governor, and that’s why he has my full support.”
The university regent is flying around the state Tuesday with Ricketts, former Gov. Kay Orr, and former Nebraska Congressman and celebrated Husker football coach Dr. Tom Osborne. Following the endorsement announcement in Lincoln, campaign stops were planned in Norfolk, Kearney, and North Platte before concluding in Omaha.
Pillen is running in the Republican primary against Donna Nicole Carpenter, Michael Connely, Charles Herbster, Brett Lindstrom, Lela McNinch, Breland Ridenour, and Theresa Thibodeau. State Sen. Carol Blood announced her run for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in September.
The primary election is set for May 10. FELLOW CANDIDATES RESPOND
endorsed by former President Trump, expressed his disappointment with Ricketts’ endorsement selection on Tuesday:
“It is disappointing to me that Governor Ricketts is supporting a candidate who has a weak record on illegal immigration, who failed to stop Critical Race Theory from seeping into public universities and then voted to fund it with taxpayer dollars, and who has admitted to polluting our most precious resource, water.
I am running for governor because Nebraska needs a true conservative leader to carry on the America First agenda. I am the only candidate in the race who has the endorsement of President Donald J. Trump. And I am the only one who will promote strong economic policies to increase opportunity and prosperity across our state, fight against the liberal radicalization of our children’s education and our election system, and demand order on the border.
Like all Nebraska governors, Pete Ricketts is limited to two terms. In the year he has left, Ricketts should focus on serving the needs of Nebraska, not hand-picking his successor. No politician should choose the next governor; the voters should.”
Blood said the announcement was no surprise.
“It’s been clear to all since the beginning of Pillen’s campaign that he was Governor Rickett’s choice of candidates. It seems a waste of time for the members of Nebraska’s media to have a press conference on what’s already known to voters. It’s also odd that our Governor asks former President Trump to stay out of Nebraska’s Governors’ race, but then chooses to do the exact same thing. We’ve seen many candidates for the legislature endorsed by the Governor who have had little success in actually being elected. Nebraska voters will let us know very soon who they believe to be the best candidate, regardless of endorsements.”
Thibodeau attacked Pillen’s record as a Nebraska Regent.
“Jim Pillen has solidified his place as an unqualified candidate and ineffective elected official. Governor Ricketts’ decision to endorse Jim Pillen is disappointing.
During his time on the Nebraska Board of Regents, Jim Pillen sat idly by while University of Nebraska Lincoln faculty members harassed and verbally abused conservative students. At the same time, Pillen had no problem contributing more than $25,000 to Nebraska's largest liberal education lobby. Jim Pillen failed to stop Critical Race Theory from entering Nebraska Universities and opened the floodgates for a divisive, destructive curriculum.
From polluting small towns with the sour stench of his hog operations and "making people prisoners in their own homes," Pillen's priority is profits, not the wellbeing of his neighbors.*
If Jim Pillen is incapable of keeping CRT out of our schools and making conservative students feel welcome at our universities, he is not fit to serve as Nebraska's next Governor.”
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