mcloudy.png
Tuesday May 24th, 2022 6:04PM

Election 2022: Polls have closed in Nebraska, West Virginia

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Polls closed Tuesday in Nebraska as voters picked sides in a bitter Republican primary race for governor that was upended in recent weeks after a leading candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump was accused of groping at least eight women over the last few years.

Charles Herbster, a businessman and cattle breeder who has denied the allegations, is in a nine-way GOP primary to replace Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who's prevented by term limit laws from running again. Other leading candidates include Jim Pillen, a veterinarian and hog farm owner endorsed by Ricketts, and state Sen. Brett Lindstrom, an Omaha financial adviser who gained traction recently with a surge of money and support from the city’s Republican mayor.

The winner will emerge as a strong favorite in November’s general election in Republican-dominated Nebraska. State Sen. Carol Blood is the top candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Both Nebraska and West Virginia are holding primary elections on Tuesday, with select races providing some measure of the former president’s enduring sway with GOP voters. In addition to the Nebraska governor's race, Trump has weighed in on a West Virginia congressional primary between two Republican incumbents. The former president backed Rep. Alex Mooney over Rep. David McKinley, who angered Trump by voting for President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package and the creation of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Trump is facing some of the biggest tests of his influence in Republican primary elections later this month. In Pennsylvania, his endorsed Senate candidate, TV’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, is locked in a competitive race against former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and five others, while his candidate in North Carolina, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, is competing in a field that includes a dozen other Republicans. In Georgia, Trump has endorsed primary challengers to Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both of whom defied him by rejecting his false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

In Nebraska, the allegations against Herbster, a longtime supporter of Trump's, didn't stop the former president from holding a rally with him earlier this month.

“I really think he’s going to do just a fantastic job, and if I didn’t feel that, I wouldn’t be here,” Trump said at the rally at a racetrack outside Omaha.

In a story last month, the Nebraska Examiner interviewed six women who claimed Herbster had groped their buttocks, outside of their clothes, during political events or beauty pageants. A seventh woman said Herbster once cornered her privately and kissed her forcibly.

One of the accusers, Republican state Sen. Julie Slama, said Herbster reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately at the Douglas County Republican Party’s annual Elephant Remembers dinner in 2019. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly, as Slama has done.

Herbster filed a defamation lawsuit against Slama, saying she falsely accused him in an effort to derail his campaign. Slama responded with a countersuit against Herbster, alleging sexual battery.

Herbster has suggested in television ads that Pillen and Ricketts conspired with Slama to falsely accuse him of sexual assault — allegations the three deny.

Some voters said the allegations didn't dissuade them from backing Herbster.

As she voted at an elementary school in northwest Omaha on Tuesday, Joann Kotan said she was “upset by the stories, but I don't know if I believe them." Ultimately, the 74-year-old said she voted for Herbster “because President Trump recommended him."

Lindstrom has faced a barrage of attacks as well, with third-party television ads funded by Ricketts that portray him as too liberal for the conservative state. One digitally altered ad shows Lindstrom standing in front of a rainbow flag with a coronavirus mask superimposed over his face. A mail ad notes that Lindstrom was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, a moderate Republican-turned-Democrat who died last month of brain cancer.

But Devon Leesley said he backed the 41-year-old Lindstrom because “it's time to hand over the politics to the next generation." Pillen and Herbster are both in their 60s.

The 45-year-old Leesley, who lives in Omaha, said he didn't pay much attention to the various endorsements in the race.

“I don't trust any politician talking about any other politician. It's all dirt," he said. “We would never vote for anybody if we listened to their opponent."

Carol Bruning, 59, of Omaha, said she went into Election Day debating between Pillen and Lindstrom, but went with Pillen because of his age and experience. She said she liked that Ricketts and former football coach and congressman Tom Osborne endorsed Pillen. The fact that Trump endorsed Herbster may have even been a little bit of a turn off at this point even though Bruning said she voted for Trump.

The allegations against Herbster weren’t much of a factor.

“You don’t know what to believe. That’s the hard part,” Bruning said.

Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, a Republican, predicted that 35% of registered voters will cast ballots in the primary, the highest percentage since 2006, based on what he's seen so far.

Nebraska Republicans and Democrats will also pick their candidates to run for the seat previously held by Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned from office and ended his reelection bid in March after he was convicted of federal corruption charges.

State Sen. Mike Flood, a former speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, is a top contender for the Republican nomination, while state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks is likely to win the Democratic nod. Flood will enter the race as a strong favorite in the Republican-heavy 1st Congressional District, which includes Lincoln, small towns and a large swath of eastern Nebraska farmland.

In the Omaha area, Republican U.S. Rep. Don Bacon faces a long-shot primary challenge from Omaha consultant Steve Kuehl in the 2nd Congressional District. Democrats Alisha Shelton and state Sen. Tony Vargas are running for their party's nomination as well in Nebraska's only competitive congressional district.

___

Associated Press writer Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
3 years on, Ronald Greene's family still waiting for justice
Three years ago, when a beaten and battered Ronald Greene drew his final breath on a rural roadside, his death in Louisiana State Police custody seemed destined for obscurity
9:23PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Election 2022: Blood wins Nebraska’s Democratic governor nod
Nebraska state Sen. Carol Blood has won the Democratic nomination for governor as Republicans worked through a crowded field of candidates, including one running with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement
9:21PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Trump-backed US Rep. Alex Mooney wins W.Va. GOP primary
Rep. Alex Mooney has won the Republican nomination for one of West Virginia’s two seats in Congress
9:19PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War
The U.S. House is debating a fresh $40 billion Ukraine aid package that beefs up President Joe Biden’s initial request
8:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
GOP fears far-right candidate will be PA governor nominee
With six days until Pennsylvania’s primary, Republicans are openly worrying that a leading candidate in the crowded GOP field running for governor is unelectable in the fall general election
8:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
Election 2022: Trump faces test in Nebraska governor primary
Nebraska Republicans are set to nominate a candidate for governor in a primary race that's turned bitter
7:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Live updates | US senators meet with Ukraine’s ambassador
Senators meeting with Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S. says her message was one of thanks and making clear more help will be needed in the future
5:27PM ( 4 hours ago )
Ambassador nominee for Ukraine seeks quick embassy reopening
The Biden administration’s nominee for U_S_ ambassador to Ukraine is promising senators she'll work to make Russia’s war there a “strategic failure."
5:05PM ( 4 hours ago )
Political reality: Congress can't save -- or end -- abortion
Fighting for decades over abortion policy, Congress is about to run into the political limits of its ability to act in either direction on the issue
4:55PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Leonid Kravchuk, independent Ukraine's 1st president, dies
Leonid Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union and served as its first president, has died at age 88
6:43PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump's clout factors into US House races in W.Va., Nebraska
Roads, bridges and ex-President Donald Trump are on West Virginia and Nebraska voters’ minds as they choose candidates in primary elections for Congress
12:13PM ( 9 hours ago )
Election 2022: Groping claims roil Nebraska governor primary
Nebraska Republicans are set to nominate a candidate for governor in a primary race that's turned bitter
11:38AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Elections
Abortion rights may rest on governor's races in some states
The fight for Congress often dominates midterm elections
10:50AM ( 3 days ago )
Man who stormed Capitol in caveman costume gets prison
A New York City judge’s son who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a furry “caveman” costume has been sentenced to eight months in prison
4:04PM ( 4 days ago )
UK Conservatives lose London strongholds, in blow to Johnson
Britain’s governing Conservatives have suffered local election losses in their few London strongholds
8:02AM ( 4 days ago )
General Election News
Global shares mostly fall as rate hikes, China slowdown loom
Global shares have fallen as interest rate hikes and a slowing Chinese economy weighed on investor sentiment
5:14AM ( 1 day ago )
Asian shares mostly fall as rate hikes, China slowdown loom
Shares are lower in most Asian markets as interest rate hikes and a slowing Chinese economy weigh on investor sentiment
3:13AM ( 1 day ago )
Philippine election narrows to Marcos, rights defender
Voters in the Philippines are choosing their next leader, senators, representatives and thousands of local office holders Monday
12:23AM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
3 years on, Ronald Greene's family still waiting for justice
Three years ago, when a beaten and battered Ronald Greene drew his final breath on a rural roadside, his death in Louisiana State Police custody seemed destined for obscurity
9:23PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Election 2022: Blood wins Nebraska’s Democratic governor nod
Nebraska state Sen. Carol Blood has won the Democratic nomination for governor as Republicans worked through a crowded field of candidates, including one running with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement
9:21PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Trump-backed US Rep. Alex Mooney wins W.Va. GOP primary
Rep. Alex Mooney has won the Republican nomination for one of West Virginia’s two seats in Congress
9:19PM ( 18 minutes ago )
House votes to let aides unionize, bargain collectively
The House has approved a resolution that will pave the way for letting congressional staff join a union and engage in collective bargaining
9:17PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Canadiens win NHL draft lottery; Devils move up to No. 2
The Montreal Canadiens are hosting the NHL draft in July and will have the right to the No. 1 pick
9:13PM ( 24 minutes ago )