New GOP chair says party will focus on values, not people, moving forward

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 19:20:25-04

LINCOLN, Neb (KMTV) — By now just about everyone has heard of the big shakeup in the Nebraska GOP.

The party now has a new chairman, with a new vision of what the Republican Party will look like in Nebraska.

“The culture before, I believe, didn’t bring in as many ideas or opportunities as before. I have only been in this for 18 months, two years, and a perspective that I saw that many of us saw as we came together. The understanding was if we couldn’t have a voice in it how could we be apart of something,” said Eric Underwood, the newly elected Chairman of the Nebraska GOP.

Underwood was the man who introduced the motion to remove previous chairman Dan Welch, sparking a wave of resignations ranging from executive committee members to executive director Taylor Gage.

One common complaint among those who supported Welch’s removal was that the direction of the party was influenced too much by Governor Pete Ricketts.

Neither Ricketts — nor any of the major candidates he is supporting, like gubernatorial nominee Jim Pillen — were in attendance at Thursday’s press conference.

Underwood said he wants to move away from a party focused on people and personalities but still hoped to receive support, both politically and financially, from the governor.

“As far as the finances, that’s not up to me, that’s up to him. I would choose, and hope that he believes in me and the relationships that we have. If he chooses to support the party through the state party, then he will feel confident that my goal is the same as his,” said Underwood.

Underwood won’t have much time to celebrate his victory.

A potential special session and upcoming general election means Underwood and his executive committee must quickly prepare the party’s strategy moving forward.

That puzzle isn’t complete just yet, but the pieces should all be familiar to Nebraska voters.

“We are gonna make a legislative plan together that helps promote fiscal responsibility, agriculture, limited government, education, sanctity of life. We have an opportunity to have a great conversation about election accountability and voter verification,” said Underwood.

According to the GOP constitution, Underwood will have until Sept. 1 to seat his executive committee and develop a legislative plan.

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