Former Governor Kay Orr has waded into the Republican primary for governor, endorsing Omaha business executive Pete Ricketts.
“I and my family are supporting Pete Ricketts and one of the first things we look to in the attributes of the candidate is the moral character of the person,” Orr said during a news conference with Ricketts at the Capitol. “Pete’s a good guy. He’s a good family man, a devoted father and husband. Beyond that, he’s a fiscal conservative. He knows that Nebraska’s future needs somebody with the kind of leadership to keep our fiscal house in order.”
Both Orr and former Governor Charles Thone have endorsed Ricketts. Thone was unable to attend the news conference.
Orr said she understood she is getting involved in a crowded Republican primary.
“I don’t always endorse candidates, but I have been known to do so,” Orr said. “He’s well suited to be governor, to be (a) leader and especially on those two issues on education and economic development.”
Ricketts said the endorsements make for a big day for his campaign.
As for the campaign, Ricketts said the state tax system, a prime topic of discussion in the last legislative session as well as the interim, appears to be the top issue for Nebraskans.
“Well, based upon my travels around the state so far, if it’s not the top issue, I don’t know what is, because the first thing people talk about is taxes,” Ricketts said.
This is Ricketts second statewide race. He lost the 2006 United States Senate race to Democrat Ben Nelson. He is the former Chief Financial Officer of T-D Ameritrade.
Other Republicans who have announced their candidacy for governor are state Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, state Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, state Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, and state Auditor Mike Foley.
Democrats in the race include state Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton and former Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs Chuck Hassebrook.
Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, cannot run again, due to term limits.
AUDIO: Former Gov. Kay Orr endorses Pete Ricketts for governor. [8 min.]