KEARNEY, Neb (KMTV) — At first, this year’s state GOP convention seemed to be business as usual.
Republican leaders and officials took to the stage to rouse the crowd with their plans to flip the US House and Senate to a Republican majority.
“We are facing threats to our nation, to our state, and to our way of life. That threat is coming from the radical left and the Biden administration,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.
Rising GOP star and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin also made his way to the Cornhusker State to address the crowd.
It is somewhat unusual to see a governor stump at another state’s convention and the move is adding fuel to rumors that Youngkin is preparing for a 2024 presidential run, although Youngkin’s campaign has denied that is the case.
“Friends, what’s happening is this red wave. This red wave that found its headwaters last year in the Commonwealth of Virginia is cresting across America’s heartlands and I'll tell you it's gonna come crashing down on Nancy Pelosi’s California,” said Youngkin.
Things started off well enough but it didn’t take long though for the mood at the convention to turn sour.
Before the speeches even started a group of GOP delegates, many of whom had their convention credentials revoked in the past week, made a stand at the front doors of the convention hall demanding to be let in.
“They are changing the rules on us. He is saying he is not but he is. We have resolutions we want to bring to the floor like the constitution says,” said Fanchon Blythe, one of the excluded delegates.
Eventually, police became involved in the front door dispute. Even going so far as to put Matthew Innis, another excluded delegate, in handcuffs.
The expulsion of the delegates would prove to be wildly unpopular with Nebraska’s GOP faithful.
“Six delegates, one from Otoe County, one from Custer County (and) four from Lancaster County have not been seated based on the determination from the committee of lack of support for the Republican Party,” said credential committee chairwoman Pam Dingman.
Party leaders, notably GOP Chair Dan Welch, were met with a wave of boos as they tried to work through the delegate drama and eventually the issue was put to a vote.
When it was all said and done, every excluded delegate was allowed to be seated at the convention.
Waves of resignations followed the GOP convention, including that of Taylor Gage.
Gage had been serving as Executive Director of Nebraska GOP. Before that he worked as communication director for Ricketts.