Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Election 2022: Groping claims sway Nebraska’s governor

Omaha, Neb. ( Associated Press) — Nebraska Republicans will choose a candidate for governor in a bitter primary race Tuesday that has been accused in recent weeks of pitting at least eight women on a leading candidate backed by former President Donald Trump. In the last few years.

Charles Herbster, a businessman and rancher who has denied the allegations, is in a nine-way GOP primary to replace Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has been barred from running again by term limit laws. Other prominent candidates include Jim Pilen.Ricketts, a veterinarian and owner of Hog Farm, and supported by State Sen. Brett LindstromAn Omaha financial advisor who recently gained traction with a surge of funding and support from the city’s Republican mayor.

The winner will emerge as a strong favorite in November’s general election in Republican-dominated Nebraska. State Sen. Carol Blood is the top candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Both Nebraska and West Virginia holding primary elections On Tuesday night, select races provided the former president some measure of lasting influence with GOP voters. In addition to Nebraska gubernatorial race, Trump weighs in on West Virginia congressional primary Between two Republican office bearers. The former president backed Rep. Alex Mooney over Rep. David McKinley, who angered Trump by voting for President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package and the creation of a House committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Trump faces some of the biggest tests of his influence in the Republican primary elections later this month. In Pennsylvania, his supported Senate candidate, TV’s Dr. Mehmet Ozuis locked in a competitive race against former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and five others, while his candidate in North Carolina, US Representative Ted Budd, is competing in a field that includes a dozen other Republicans. In Georgia, Trump has backed the primary challengers to the government. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad RiffenspergerBoth defied him by dismissing his false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

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In Nebraska, allegations against Herbster, a longtime Trump supporter, didn’t stop the former president from rallying with him earlier this month.

“I really think he’s going to do just a fantastic job, and if I didn’t feel like it, I wouldn’t be here,” Trump said at a rally at a racetrack outside Omaha.

In a story last month, the Nebraska Examiner interviewed six women who claimed that Herbster groped their buttocks, outside of their clothing, during political events or beauty pageants. A seventh woman said that Herbster once surrounded her in private and kissed her forcibly.

One of the accusers, Republican State Sen. Julie Slama, said Herbster raised her skirt and touched her inappropriately at the Douglas County Republican Party’s annual Elephant Remembers Dinner in 2019. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they are sexual victims. Unless they choose to come out in public, as Slama has done.

Herbster files defamation suit against Slama, saying he falsely accused her of attempting to derail his campaign. Slama responded with a counter suit against Herbster, alleging sexual battery.

Herbster has suggested in television commercials that Pilen and Ricketts conspired to falsely accuse Slama of sexual assault – all three denied.

Lindstrom has also faced attacks, with third-party television commercials funded by Ricketts portraying him as too liberal for a conservative state. In a digitally altered ad, Lindstrom stands in front of a rainbow flag with a coronavirus mask on its face. A Mail ad said Lindstrom was endorsed by US Representative Brad Ashford, a moderate Republican-turned-Democrat who died of brain cancer last month.

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Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evenen, a Republican, predicted that 35% of registered voters would cast ballots in the primary, the highest percentage he has seen since 2006.

Nebraska Republicans and Democrats will also choose their candidates for the seat, previously held by Republican U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned from office. and ended his re-election bid in March after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges.,

State Sen. Mike Flood, the former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, is a top contender for the Republican nomination, while State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks is likely to win the Democratic nomination. Flood would enter the race as a strong favorite in the Republican-heavy 1st congressional district, which includes Lincoln, the small town and a large swath of eastern Nebraska ranch.

In the Omaha area, Republican U.S. Representative Don Bacon faces a long-shot primary challenge from Omaha adviser Steve Kuehl in the Second Congressional District. Democrat Alisha Shelton and State Sen. Tony Vargas are also running for their party’s nomination in Nebraska’s only competitive congressional district.

Trump blasted Bacon for calling him a “bad guy” during his visit. The former president has criticized the three-time Republican for backing Biden’s infrastructure law. Bacon has been mildly critical of Trump in the past, saying he took some responsibility for the January 6 attack.

Trump officially stopped supporting Kuehl, however, saying: “I think Steve will do well. Good luck, Steve, whatever you are.”

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Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte

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Follow the Associated Press for full midterm coverage https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics

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