Pete Ricketts’ Crushing Defeat
Pete Ricketts suffered a stunning defeat at the Nebraska Republican convention over the weekend. Supporters of Trump and Herbster organized a coup and packed the room with their supporters. As a consequence, Ricketts lost control of the Nebraska GOP.
Party Chair Dan Welch lost his post by an overwhelming 204–120 margin. In response, almost every party officer resigned. The only remaining party officers who didn’t quit were National Committeeman J.L. Spray and one Congressional district chair. The Nebraska GOP was decimated by the radical coup and has a big rebuilding job ahead.
Former Lancaster County GOP Chair Eric Underwood was elected state party chair and now will be in charge of that rebuilding project. However, Underwood did a poor job as Lancaster County Chair since the Democrats now dominate Lancaster County. Underwood and the Lancaster County GOP recruited a series of radical right wing candidates who got crushed running for office on anti-vaxxer and anti-mask platforms.
The Nebraska GOP’s implosion was a direct result of Ricketts’ dominance of that party and bullying of his fellow Republicans with his vast wealth. There was a lot of resentment over how Ricketts used his money to essentially select Jim Pillen as the GOP gubernatorial nominee. During the primary campaign, Ricketts spent millions of dollars destroying Chuck Herbster and Brett Lindstrom.
Ricketts and other GOP office holders had tried to appease the radicals who ousted their supporters at the Nebraska GOP convention. While Ricketts and Bob Evnen made half hearted attempts to admit that Biden was legitimately elected, they did join in the frivolous Texas lawsuit aimed at stealing the 2020 election. As John F. Kennedy once said: “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”
This radical right wing coup is good news for Nebraska Democrats. The GOP will now have to put together a new party structure on the fly with less than four months to go. I expect Ricketts to use his immense wealth to set up some kind of Super PAC or parallel organization. However, state parties have many advantages over a Super PAC. That’s why millions of national dollars flow through state parties during election campaigns.
Former Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Vince Powers posted a series of tweets on the consequences of the right wing coup. I’ve taken the liberty of editing some of them for form but not substance.
“Winners/Losers of NEGOP Coup
Winner-Carol Blood- split party helps her
Winners-Vargas & Pansing Brooks- Opponents’ coordinated campaigns weakened- Hard to see new NEGOP trusted with millions of D.C. dollars
Winners- All reasonable Legislative candidates — Ricketts donated hundreds of thousands to NEGOP for leg races- not now
Winners- all democrats running in County races-their opponents have to find other ways to get help for mailings, funding etc
Janet Palmtag- treated very unfairly by NEGOP-even last week Exec Dir of NEGIO publicly mocker her in Twitter
Pete Ricketts and anyone associated with him-
The party leaders do not govern. Parties exist to help elect candidates who govern. And the NEGOP candidates are already radical. The only change is the NEGOP now weakened so dems have a better chance in November. The NEGOP former party leaders were as right wing as the new ones. But big difference is that donors will not want to trust new GOP with their money. Just losing Ricketts as a major funder will have big impact. You are correct that this is not a time to celebrate. However it is a positive development for democratic candidates.
The Coup was because of Ricketts bullying the party regulars. It creates organizational and fundraising issues for the NEGOP because the election is less than 4 months away. And nearly everyone in NEGOP resigned. For example, they will need to find people to do the mailings, the social media etc
whether one likes it or not, money is a driving force in today’s elections, donors need to be confident their money will be spent wisely — the new NEGOP is inexperienced and lost its major donor-Ricketts-the mass resignations are experienced people who will be replaced of course- but this is occurring less than 4 months before the election -
one is the state races in which huge sums can be donated directly to candidates But federal races- are different, which is why coordinated campaigns are set up between the state parties and national party -
GOP candidates need well funded coordinated campaigns.
Super PACs do not get the benefits laws that favor a state party — more likely in state races, new PACS could fund various races,
Mailings sent by parties can qualify as non-profit. That’s why so much mail is sent by parties.”
The choice in 2022 is between continued progress or radicalism.
The only gubernatorial candidate offering any real solutions to our problems is State Senator Carol Blood. At a candidate forum, Blood said it best: “If you’re unhappy with how things have been the last few decades, if you’re unhappy with the fact that your property taxes are too high, then I’m going to ask you, Why do you keep voting the same way?”
The legislative elections in 2022 are absolutely critical. The Republicans have a path to 33 seats — enough votes to break a filibuster. If the GOP gets a filibuster proof majority, they will wreck the state with their radical agenda. The GOP would try to ban abortions, pass punitive LGBTQ legislation and impose a regressive consumption tax.
The Republicans running for Congress are just as extreme as the ones running for the legislature. If the GOP regains control of Congress, they will try to ban abortions, shutdown the government, vote to cut Social Security and Medicare, and even steal the 2024 presidential election.
The Republicans have gone too far, way too far, and the American people know it. That’s the Republicans for you — they just can’t help themselves. They’re radical and out of control.
Vote for Patty Pansing Brooks in Nebraska CD01!
Vote for Tony Vargas in CD02!
Vote for David Else in CD03!
Only you can stop them on November 8. Organize! Vote!