State Sen. Bob Krist breaks with the Republican Party in announcing an independent run for governor, but the party doesn’t view his candidacy as much of a threat.
Krist, a retired Air Force pilot from Omaha, says a number of Republicans have expressed to him dissatisfaction with Gov. Pete Ricketts.
“That there are a large number of Republicans who are not necessarily happy with the way things are going,” Krist tells reporters in announcing his candidacy for governor.
Krist has left the Republican Party, officially filing as a non-partisan with the Douglas County Election Commission.
Krist claims to have had a tumultuous relationship with the Republican Party during his tenure in the Unicameral. Krist says he would be a strong, independent leader if elected.
Krist clashed with Ricketts throughout the recent legislative session and says the budget battles prompted him to run for governor. Krist criticized budget cuts the governor proposed to social service agencies, contending the legislature could have cut elsewhere and avoided hurting the most vulnerable.
Much of the criticism leveled by Krist is brushed aside by Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Kenny Zoeller who claims Krist has flip-flopped on a number of issues and has been eager to run for higher office.
As for Krist’s contention that Republicans are dissatisfied with Ricketts, Zoeller says he doesn’t know who Krist is talking to.
“Republicans that we have talked to across the state, Nebraskans that we have talked to across the state are very, very pleased with Gov. Ricketts’ conservative leadership and what he’s doing really to reform our state government and make it work for Nebraskans better,” Zoeller tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Zoeller says the party is pleased to run on Ricketts’ record and has no worries about the governor’s re-election bid in 2018.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]