Last May, in a nine-way Republican gubernatorial primary in Nebraska, the establishment conservative, Jim Pillen, beat the Trump-backed MAGA fascist, Charles Herbster and the relatively moderate business Republican, Brett Lindstrom.
Pillen- 91,152 (33.9%)
Herbster- 80,369 (29.9%)
Lindstrom- 70,166 (26.1%)
The other candidates were all in single digits, most of them below 1%. Then-Governor Pete Ricketts endorsed Pillen and Trump endorsed Herbster, who had been in DC for the final J-6 coup planning session at Trump's hotel down the street from the White House with the other major plotters: Trump Jr, Eric Trump, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Michael Flynn, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Lindell, David Bossie, Corey Lewandowski, Peter Navarro, Adam Piper. He was at the pre-insurrection rally and then pointedly flew to Mar-A-Lago with Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle as the deadly attack they planned on the Capitol began.”
A life-long sex predator and pedophile, Herbster ran the most divisive gubernatorial campaign in Nebraska's history, based largely on his full-throated racism and attacks predicated around every ugly issue Trump has ever dredged up. Reid Epstein reported that Herbster's campaign was basically: TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! “Like his political role model-- and chief backer-- Herbster is proving to be a one-man political wrecking ball. In a state long known for genteel, collaborative politics and, for the last 24 years, one-party rule, Herbster’s bid has cracked his party into three camps, with Trump supporters, establishment conservatives and business-friendly moderates battling for power. A major donor for years to conservative candidates, Herbster has been abandoned by longtime political allies and seen his running mate quit his ticket to run for governor herself. The allegations of groping are coming from fellow Republicans. Behind all the drama is a question with resonance far beyond Nebraska. Trump’s endorsement of Herbster, a major donor to Trump’s political career, isn’t just the first-time candidate’s top credential-- it is his campaign’s entire rationale. Trump’s name is on Herbster’s lawn signs, ads and billboards.” Herbster was about to find out that a Trump endorsement alone was not enough to win a major Republican primary.
It wasn’t— but he wants to give it another shot. A proudly ignorant college drop-out who inherited the family farm and is best known as one of the biggest proponents of non-sustainable farming, Herbster is a veritable over-fertilizering and deep plowing destroy-the-earth advocate. Aside from being stupid, self-absorbed and selfish, he's rich, entitled, reactionary and incredibly bigoted— and a former Trump rural advisor. Yesterday, Dispatch reporters Andrew Egger, David Drucker and Audrey Fahlberg wrote that next year he may challenge Ricketts, who was appointed to the Senate by Pillen after Ben Sasse retired.
“Challenging Ricketts in 2024,” the wrote, “would likely come at a steep financial cost for Herbster. Ricketts’ family has deep pockets (his father Joe founded TD Ameritrade), and both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund have signaled they’re open to spending heavily in Republican primaries this cycle.” Not just spend— but spend to defeat MAGA crazies like Herbster who, they feel, cost the GOP the Senate last year. Trump and his oldest son, Jr., are thought to be urging Herbster to run.
Herbster is weighing his options. “I have had a lot of people both within Nebraska and Republicans involved in national politics reach out, encouraging me to run for the United States Senate in 2024,” Herbster said in a statement to The Dispatch. “I am in the fortunate position right now where I have several different options available for my political future. The Senate in 2024 is certainly one of those options. However, at this time, I have made no decisions and have no pending announcement.”
…Weeks before the May 10 primary, GOP state Sen. Julie Slama alleged [one of 8 women who accused Herbster of being a sex predator] to the Nebraska Examiner that Herbster reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately at a local GOP event in 2019. (Herbster denied the allegations, and both parties have since dropped their dueling lawsuits.)
…Herbster’s threat to challenge Ricketts escalates an already tense feud between the two Republicans from last cycle. Ricketts, who appointed Slama to Nebraska’s unicameral legislature in 2019, strongly condemned Herbster after Slama went on the record with her accusations. Ricketts also denied any political involvement in the allegations.
Herbster has criticized Pillen’s decision to tap Ricketts for Sasse’s seat. According to the Nebraska Examiner, Ricketts gave $100,000 to Pillen’s campaign last year, and he and his family spent millions in ads hitting Herbster and fellow GOP gubernatorial opponent state Sen. Brett Lindstrom.