Custer County rancher and business owner Jim Jenkins has announced he has gathered six thousand signatures to place his name on the November ballot as an independent candidate for the United States Senate.
Jenkins understands he’s running an uphill battle against Republican Ben Sasse and Democrat Dave Domina.
“Politics is tough regardless, no matter how you’re running. But, I think based on some of our internal polling we have a lot better chance than many people give us,” Jenkins tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Jenkins is counting on Nebraskans’ independent streak to help his campaign.
“Now, honestly, I make no bones about it, we’re going to have to run a perfect campaign.”
The first step is getting certified for the General Election ballot in November.
Jenkins has submitted six thousand signatures to the Secretary of State. He needs four thousand signatures from registered Nebraska voters to be on the ballot.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, county election officials will verify the signatures. Once enough signatures have been certified by local election officials, the Secretary of State’s office has three days to inform the candidate of the results. The candidate then can pay the filing fee. Jenkins has already paid.
Jenkins says he will give voters the opportunity to cast a ballot against the ideological divisions driven by the two parties.
“If you’re not willing to send bridge-builders or statesmen to Congress, if we’re going to continue to just send highly partisan people to Congress we’re not going to be able to come together,” according to Jenkins. “And when we don’t come together, we undermine our security, we undermine our economy, and we undermine our democratic institutions.”
Jenkins takes encouragement from the recent troubles of some Congressional veterans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia lost his primary race as did long-time Texas Congressman Ralph Hall. Both are Republicans.
Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi barely won a run-off primary challenge. Veteran Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York seems to have survived his second tough primary election.
“Everyone understands that something is wrong. There is a major problem in Washington, D.C. and that problem is not being addressed by the two parties,” Jenkins says. “We have to have an outside perspective, a different approach to governing than what we have right now.”
The three candidates are running for the seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Mike Johanns, who has decided to retire from public office.