Nebraska’s outgoing Republican governor slams Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate: 'Seek help'

Nebraska’s outgoing Republican governor slams Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate: 'Seek help'

Republican politicians are often afraid to say anything critical of a candidate who former President Donald Trump has endorsed, as they are terrified at the possibility of offending the former president in any way. But on Monday, April 18, outgoing Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts — a far-right Trump-supporting Republican — lambasted the candidate Trump has endorsed in Nebraska’s 2022 gubernatorial race: Conklin Company CEO Charles Herbster.

Ricketts, not to be confused with the retired British diplomat Peter Ricketts (who served as national security adviser under Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron), was elected governor of Nebraska in 2014 and reelected in 2018. But because Nebraska has gubernatorial term limits, he cannot seek a third term — and Herbster, who is being inundated with sexual harassment allegations, is Trump’s favorite candidate in Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

Herbster has been accused of groping eight different women and denies all of the allegations. One of the women, a Republican, is Nebraska State Sen. Julie Slama, who has alleged that at an event in 2019, Herbster reached up her skirt without her consent.

When reporters asked Ricketts to comment on the allegations against Herbster, the outgoing Republican governor told them, “I think he needs to apologize to the women. And then, I think he should seek help; then, he should step out of the race.”

Herbster, a far-right Christian fundamentalist, has been saying that the sexual misconduct allegations are part of a Republican establishment conspiracy to derail his campaign. But Ricketts, at the news conference, dismissed that claim as nonsense.

Ricketts, referencing reporting in the Nebraska Examiner, told reporters, “Charles Herbster is saying that the Republican establishment somehow created a conspiracy, that these eight women are somehow behind, to accuse him of sexual assault and groping them and so forth. And I would say: Just read the article, because that article is probably one of the most well-researched, corroborated articles I’ve ever seen on this topic. And you’ve got eight women who are a part of this article, one of whom is a state senator. I believe State Sen. Slama. I believe her.”

In Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primary, Herbster’s competitors include University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, Nebraska State Sen. Brett Lindstrom and former Nebraska State Sen. Theresa Thibodeau. A 3D Strategic Research poll, conducted for Lindstrom’s campaign from April 10-12, found Herbster trailing Lindstrom and Pillen by 4%. But because of the poll’s margin of error, 3D considers the primary race a dead heat between Herbster, Lindstrom and Pillen.

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