Agribusinessman and Republican candidate for governor Charles Herbster is facing an onslaught of criticism over allegations by several women, including State Senator Julie Slama, that he groped them at public events and forcibly kissed one.
A campaign spokeswoman calls the accusations “a political hit-piece built on 100% false and baseless claims” and an attack by the “political establishment”.” Gov Pete Ricketts and other longtime party leaders support NU Regent Jim Pillen in the race.
Herbster himself issued a statement calling the allegations 100% false and politically motivated, adding that he’s employed hundreds of people for over 30 years and has never had his integrity “challenged in this manner.”
Herbster also said he will “be suiting to defend my name and my reputation” from a ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick by Ricketts and Pillen, pointing out that Ricketts appointed Slama to the legislature after she was press secretary of his reelection run.
Ricketts, former Gov Kay Orr, and the 13 women from both parties who serve in the Legislature issued statements expressing horror at the allegations and issuing support for the women making the accusations.
The Nebraska Examiner first reported the allegations after interviewing 8 women who claimed that the 67-year-old Herbster groped their buttocks or kissed them during political events or beauty pageants over the past 3 years.
One was State Sen. Julie Slama, who confirmed witness accounts that Herbster had reached up her skirt at a GOP event in 2019.
One supporter of Herbster, former Omaha Mayor and Congressman Hal Daub, criticized the story, saying journalists should be “drilling down” on the “origins of the story,” suggesting that it was Ricketts and his camp who pushed for the story.
Daub then made things worse by saying reporters should “Maybe ask Senator Slama what she was wearing. Was she nude? Was she wearing a one-piece or two-piece?”
Slama responded by posting a picture of the dress she wore at the GOP event and telling KFAB radio that it’s comments like Daub’s that “keeps women from coming forward,” adding that “Clothes don’t equal consent.”.