Trump-endorsed Nebraska gubernatorial candidate loses contested primary amid groping allegations

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  • Trump’s chosen candidate failed to win Nebraska’s GOP governor’s primary.
  • Businessman Charles Herbster was downed after multiple sexual assault allegations that turned the race upside down.
  • Tuesday’s result shows that Trump’s support is not a 100% guarantee of winning in a close contest.

Former President Donald Trump’s preferred candidate in Nebraska’s Republican gubernatorial primaries, businessman Charles Herbster, failed Tuesday night’s bid, proving that Trump’s kingmaker status is not airtight.

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen is expected to win the Decision Desk HQ projects competition.

The race was turned upside down in late March when The Nebraska Examiner, a local nonprofit media outlet, reported that eight women had accused Herbster of sexual assault.

Six women, including State Senator Julie Slama, claimed that Herbster harassed them, either at political events or at beauty pageants. Herbster vehemently denied the allegations and launched a Trump-like campaign to discredit Slama. She even went so far as to file a defamation lawsuit against him.

Trump has previously bragged about his undefeated turnover record. Its ability to reach and reshape the GOP is being closely watched ahead of an anticipated 2024 presidential campaign. Herbster is the first Trump-approved candidate to lose in 2022.

The truth is that Roy Moore lost his bid for the U.S. Senate seat amid allegations of misconduct in Alabama and GOP Rep. priority.

Tuesday’s result comes just a week after Trump was credited with helping author JD Vance win in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary. Two races show that Trump’s support is helpful to GOP hopefuls, but not decisive.

It wasn’t entirely bad news for Trump: Representative Alex Mooney, the cycle’s pick in the nation’s first incumbent primary, was victorious in West Virginia.

Jim Pillen (center), Kay Orr and Pete Ricketts

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, Gov. Pete Ricketts, and former Gov. Kay speaks at a January press conference while surrounded by Orr.

Grant Schulte/AP

Supporting Pillen, Governor Pete Ricketts favors a successor, now ready to take the reins. But it remains unclear how Herbster will react after accusing Ricketts of orchestrating a conspiracy to screw up his campaign. Herbster also filed a libel suit against Slama that could further divide the party through November.

State Senator Carol Blood easily clinched the Democratic nomination. The governor faces long odds to turn his mansion; this will help in case the Nebraska Republicans fail to close the ranks around Pillen.

Nebraskas have not elected a new Democratic governor since 1990, an eon in politics, the state has drifted further to the right.