Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Nebraska Governor- Race of the Day

63 Days Until Election Day

Nebraska Governor

Status: Republican Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Likely Republican

Four years ago, when I wrote about the Gubernatorial race in Nebraska, I said that Republican Pete Ricketts was likely to get elected and might have a World Series ring as well by the time his first term ended. Sure enough, both things happened. Now, Ricketts is favored to win a second term in this heavily Republican state and the Chicago Cubs baseball team that he and his family own (mostly run by his brother) are hoping to add another World Series victory after breaking through to the sports' promised land in 2016.

The tenure of businessman Ricketts, in his first elected office, has not exactly been without some bumps though in the state capital. Nebraska is unique among states in having a unicameral legislature, called the State Senate, and one where nobody is elected under a party label. Still, it is widely understood that most legislators in Lincoln are Republicans, Ricketts has clashed with them. In particular, they passed bills over his veto to abolish the death penalty and to give drivers' licenses to DACA recipients. It sure seems as if the legislature is to the left of the Governor.

The Governor had endorsed Donald Trump during the Presidential campaign, after his wealthy father ran SuperPAC ads that were anti-Trump and generated the ire of the candidate. Another Ricketts brother was nominated for a sub-cabinet Post by Trump but withdrew from consideration due to financial reporting complications, and a sister is prominent Democrat and gay activist. Tom Ricketts, who is the Chairman of the Cubs, largely stays out of politics these days, but all siblings and family members have come together to support Pete's political endeavors in Nebraska.

As Ricketts and his Lt. Governor Mike Foley seek a second term, they are opposed by the ticket of State Senators Bob Krist and Lynne Walz. Krist, who retired as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, was serving in the Senate, unofficially as a Republican, and publicly considered a primary challenge to Ricketts. Then, he said he would run as an Independent. By February, Krist changed his mind yet again and said he would run as a Democrat. That would seem to make the most sense in gaining ballot access, although there are probably moderate Republican voters or Independents who might otherwise be open to his candidacy but will find it hard to actually vote for a Democrat.

The political bench for Democrats in Nebraska is fairly weak, and party newcomer Krist won the May primary with 60 percent of the vote, while Ricketts took 81 percent on the GOP side against writer and political gadfly Krystal Gable who made marijuana legalization the center of her campaign. Among Democrats, community activist Vanessa Gayle Ward won 29 percent of the vote and university professor Tyler Davis took 11 percent.

There is some polling evidence to suggest that Ricketts' job approval numbers have fallen a bit and are now at a middling level. There does not seem to be anything in the way of polls though matching him up against his opponent Krist. With that in mind, it is tough to say that the incumbent is truly safe. He won his first election with 57 percent of the vote and may very well duplicate that, but it appears that whatever is going on in Nebraska enough Republicans may be less than enamored with Ricketts to only make his race a "likely" GOP hold. It is far easier to follow the standings of the Chicago Cubs on a daily basis.

Gubernatorial Races predicted thus far:

10 D  (2 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
10 R   (2 Safe,  4 Likely, 3 Leans, 1 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:

17 D (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup)
17 R (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 4 Likely, 3 Leans, 1 Tossup)


At 2:46 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Big question is whether Ricketts gets a cabinet spot in the Trump White House ?


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