Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts says a wholesale change in his approach to campaigning made the difference in a successful 2014 after a dreadful 2006.
When asked about what made the difference this year, Ricketts first points out the United States Senate race he lost to Democrat Ben Nelson in 2006 was different than this year’s campaign against Chuck Hassebrook.
Yet, he credits his success to a great campaign team and an organized grass-roots effort.
“And then we talked about things that people cared about,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We were talking about how do we create more and better paying jobs, how do we improve education here in this state, how can we help our companies grow?”
Ricketts made changes in 2014. Ricketts used his vast wealth as part of the TD Ameritrade family in the 2006 campaign, spending nearly $12 million of his own money, which he concedes now gave the impression of attempting to buy a campaign. This year, Ricketts sought campaign contributions, accumulating supporters with a vested interest in his campaign.
Ricketts spent the time after the 2006 loss helping the party, especially in his role as national Republican committee member.
Ricketts squeezed out a win in a crowded Republican primary, edging Attorney General Jon Bruning. That tough primary campaign, according to Ricketts, took him to all corners of the state, meeting a variety of Nebraskans, as he put 64,000 miles on his car.
“So, I had a chance to talk to Nebraskans all across the state and really had a good feel for what were the issues that were going to be the most important to them,” according to Bruning. “And I think that played a big role in the general campaign, to be able to focus on the things Nebraskans care about.”
And those are jobs and property tax relief, according to Ricketts.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]