State Sen. Bob Krist remains a Democrat running for governor.
Secretary of State John Gale has denied an objection filed by fellow Democrat Tyler Davis, who claimed Krist hadn’t changed his party affiliation in time to appear on the Nebraska Democratic Party primary ballot.
Gale ruled Krist remained a non-partisan until he declared a party affiliation of Democratic on February 12th.
Davis had claimed Krist had chosen a political party, forming the United Nebraska Party after contemplating, then rejecting a run as an independent.
Gale noted in his ruling that United Nebraska was never recognized as a political party in Nebraska and, thus, Krist never changed political parties.
“Therefore as a registered non-partisan, Robert J. Krist, in his filing of a Nebraska Voter Registration Application on February 12, 2018, declaring his ‘Party Affiliation’ to that of ‘Democratic’ did not constitute a ‘change of political party affiliation by a registered voter,’ but rather it was the request of Robert J. Krist to declare an affiliation.”
Democrats charged Republicans were behind the objection filed by Davis, pointing out his attorney, Joseph Wilkins, is part of the Mattson Ricketts Law Firm, the same law firm to which Nebraska Republican Party National Committeeman J. L. Spray belongs. Spray was the first one to raise questions about the legality of Krist appearing on the ballot as a Democrat.
Krist, a former Air Force pilot, was appointed a state senator in 2009 by former Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican. Krist won election to the officially non-partisan Unicameral in 2010. Krist was re-elected in 2014. He was registered as a Republican until last year, when he registered officially as non-partisan.
Krist considered running as an independent and had even filed a federal lawsuit challenging new state law which greatly increased the signature threshold for an independent candidate to qualify for the ballot. Krist toyed with forming a third party. As a Democrat, Krist has access to the ballot and, if he wins the primary, access to the party’s organization and fund-raising as he mounts his challenge to the re-election of Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Davis is an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Vanessa Ward, a pastor and north Omaha activist, has also filed as a Democratic candidate for governor.
Technical writer Krystal Gabel has filed as a Republican candidate for governor.
Davis can appeal Gale’s ruling in court.