Son of GOP Mega-Donor on Track to Become Nebraska’s Next Governor

The Ricketts’ family wealth attracted outsize attention to the governor’s race from 2016 Republican presidential contenders.

Nebraska Republican gubernatorial nominee Pete Ricketts
National Journal
Karyn Bruggeman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Karyn Bruggeman
May 14, 2014, 2:53 a.m.

Omaha busi­ness­man Pete Rick­etts nar­rowly won Neb­raska’s Re­pub­lic­an gubernat­ori­al primary Tues­day night, put­ting him on track to be­come the Cornhusk­er State’s next chief ex­ec­ut­ive.

Rick­etts won 26 per­cent of the vote, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press, which called the race early Wed­nes­day morn­ing, with state At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Jon Brun­ing close be­hind with 25 per­cent in the win­ner-take-all con­test. State le­gis­lat­or Beau Mc­Coy trailed with 21 per­cent and state Aud­it­or Mike Fo­ley had 19 per­cent, while two oth­er can­did­ates split the re­mainder of the GOP vote.

With that, Rick­etts cleared the biggest hurdle between him and the gov­ernor­ship by just over 2,000 votes. Neb­raska has not elec­ted a Demo­crat to its highest of­fice since 1994. Rick­etts will face Demo­crat Chuck Hassebrook, who ran un­con­tested in the Demo­crat­ic primary, in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Tues­day’s win of­fers a shot at polit­ic­al re­demp­tion for Rick­etts, the former TD Amer­it­rade ex­ec­ut­ive who lost the state’s 2006 Sen­ate race to Demo­crat Ben Nel­son by 29 per­cent­age points. It’s also the second time in two years that the Rick­etts fam­ily has de­railed Brun­ing’s polit­ic­al am­bi­tions. Brun­ing ran for Neb­raska’s open U.S. Sen­ate seat in 2012, but a wave of at­tack ads from out­side groups — in­clud­ing one es­tab­lished and fun­ded by Rick­etts’s fath­er — helped sink Brun­ing’s can­did­acy.

That same fam­ily wealth at­trac­ted out­size at­ten­tion to the gov­ernor’s race from 2016 Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial con­tenders. The young­er Rick­etts was en­dorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walk­er, In­di­ana Gov. Mike Pence, and 2012 vice pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee Paul Ry­an. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Pal­in and former Vice Pres­id­ent (and Neb­raska nat­ive) Dick Cheney also en­dorsed Rick­etts.

Brun­ing’s late entry to the race in Feb­ru­ary put two heavy­weights in the gubernat­ori­al con­test, and polls showed him and Rick­etts run­ning neck-and-neck head­ing in­to the fi­nal days of the primary. Rick­etts be­nefited from a cash ad­vant­age that al­lowed him to blanket the air­waves with TV ads, and he got a boost from a hand­ful of out­side groups that ran TV ads at­tack­ing Brun­ing. The primary marked the first time such groups have made a ma­jor play in a Neb­raska gov­ernor’s race, and Brun­ing blamed Rick­etts for their in­volve­ment.

What We're Following See More »
“HORRIBLE” AND “PAINFUL”
Trump Addresses Threats On Jewish Community Centers
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
COULD COME TUESDAY
Trump Set To Issue New Travel Ban
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump is set to issue a new and more focused executive order clarifying the scope of his travel ban, hoping that the order will survive legal challenges. The new order would focus on the same seven countries, "but would only bar entry to those without a visa and who have never entered the United States before. Unlike the original order, people from those countries who already have permanent U.S. residency (green cards) or visas would not face any restrictions." Some lawyers believe the government will now have much stronger standing, though lawyers who challenged the initial order see the same core problems with the forthcoming ban.

Source:
KELLOGG WILL RETURN TO NSC COS
Trump Taps Lt. Gen. McMaster as NSC Head
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump announced Monday that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will serve as his next national security adviser, filling the void left last week by the sudden dismissal of Michael Flynn. ... Retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had been serving as the acting national security adviser since Flynn's exit, will return to his role as chief of staff of the National Security Council." The pick was widely praised on both sides of the aisle.

Source:
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
3 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login