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Nebraska Republicans aim 'to beat the Democrats' during unity rally in Lincoln

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 19:49:55-04

It was a nasty primary election — specifically in the Nebraska Republican Governor’s race.

But Wednesday morning, three of the gubernatorial candidates — including Charles Herbster and Jim Pillen — came to the Nebraska GOP headquarters in Lincoln and made peace.

The ads this season were more brutal than usual and around two-thirds of Republicans did not vote for Jim Pillen. It wasn’t clear the Republicans would join hands after the primary.

Tuesday night, Lindstrom endorsed Pillen, and Wednesday the rest of the top candidates essentially did.

“It is time to come together,” said Dan Welch, chairman of the Nebraska GOP.

With the exception of Lindstrom, they were all there: Jim Pillen, Charles Herbster and even Julie Slama, who was on the other side of the room.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said Republicans now need to point their fire from red targets to blue targets.

“We have to remember, our primary goal is to beat the Democrats in November,” said Ricketts.

But how much does it really matter in deep-red Nebraska? Well, it depends.

For the governor’s race, Creighton political scientist Richard Whitmer said it was a good idea to get the Pillen and Herbster voters on the same page, but he believes Democrats would need a scandal or a gaffe to make it close.

“It’s going to be hard for Republicans to lose this race. In fact, to lose the governor’s race they’ll have to do something to earn that defeat,” said Whitmer.

Republicans are also likely to benefit from a national environment in which the United States as a whole typically goes to the opposite party of the president in the midterms. Nominee for the 1st Congressional District, Mike Flood essentially told 3 News Now on Tuesday that it’s about the economy.

“There’s only been one issue in this election cycle. And that is, people are paying more at the gas pump. They’re paying more in the grocery store. They can’t get baby formula. They’re concerned about the supply chain,” said Flood.

Whitmer believes Flood is likely to win his race against Patty Pansing Brooks and with the national environment, he thinks Rep. Don Bacon is a favorite over Tony Vargas in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.

That district isn’t a done deal for Republicans, however, and knocking on doors and making phone calls will matter.

“Doing a grassroots campaign, getting out, talking to people, that could make a difference. Because it’s, this is winnable by either side and it will be now and it will be in the future,” said Whitmer.

While Herbster and Slama were both in attendance today, their beef doesn’t appear to be over as court records indicate neither side dropped its lawsuit against the other today.

SEE MORE:

Governor candidate Charles Herbster sues Nebraska State Sen. Julie Slama Friday

Sen. Slama countersues Herbster, says governor candidate's lawsuit 'frivolous and made in bad faith'

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