Nebraska GOP Convention Ousts Party Chair, Much Of Leadership Team Then Resigns

      Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Dan Welch was ousted Saturday at the party’s state convention in Kearney in what was seen as a backlash to Gov Pete Ricketts’ iron-handed control of the party for the past 7 years.

    A loose coalition of traditional conservatives and Trump-era populists took over the party leadership after Welch was voted out and at least a dozen leaders resigned, including its executive director, two district chairs, the national committeewoman, and the party secretary, treasurer and lawyer.

    Party critics pressed for change with several saying they wanted to send a message to Ricketts and party leaders that the state GOP is more than a “party of one.” Among their complaints was that the governor and state GOP leader had taken sides in open Republican versus Republican races.. 

     They pointed to the bitter May GOP primary for governor where Ricketts spent aggressively for University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, who won over a field that included Charles Herbster, who had Donald Trump campaigning for him.

     Further fueling the move for change was the denial of convention credentials to 6 individuals for reasons such as criticizing Ricketts too loudly and strongly. Backers successfully waged floor fights to reinstate 5 of the 6.

    One of them, unsuccessful U-S Senate candidate Matt Innis, said Ricketts brought it on himself by letting the state party and staff change the rules and interpret the party constitution to achieve their ends. 

      The convention drew an unusually high non-presidential year turnout with more than 600 attendees and 346 delegates. Many of the people who pushed for change are fervent supporters of Trump and his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him by election fraud.

      Named to fill out the rest of Welch’s term, which runs through the end of the year, was Lancaster County Republican Party Chairman Eric Underwood, who said he wants to bring the party together to support Republican candidates, including Pillen.

       The new party leaders indicated they plan to quickly push farther to the right, including adopting a resolution calling for counting all election ballots by hand.

       The change in leaders might affect the party’s finances. Ricketts is its top donor, personally responsible for about 75% of the party’s private funding, while Welch was its second-best fundraiser.

3 thoughts on “Nebraska GOP Convention Ousts Party Chair, Much Of Leadership Team Then Resigns”

  1. It was such an honor to be involved in WE THE PEOPLE taking our State GOP back!
    It was epic and so many things went on there that was shocking. Please get involved in our Local GOP meetings the 1st Tuesday at Spirit of Faith Church on main street at 6:30. We need everyone, we need your emails so we can contact you about pertinent things that you may not know about. I was so heartened that people from all across Nebraska were so one minded and got business taken care of in a firm but non violent manner, although at our rally on Friday night they had several (more than 5) State Patrol there to watch us. You can send e mail addresses to me ~~

  2. Thank you, Margaret. Thank you, delegates, for standing for truth. May God bless your efforts and bless our Nebraska GOP with the necessary finances. Voting for Pillen will be difficult but necessary.

  3. Thank you John Axtell for writing this news article and printing the truth. Too many other news sources give it a left slanted view. I was honored to represent Sheridan County as a delegate at the convention. What took place is a result of what can happen when people get fed up with corrupt leadership and decide to do something about it.

    Too often I hear “there is no use to get involved as I can’t do anything” That is untrue. You can do something. You can get involved with your County GOP which joins other Counties in our sub-district which joins other sub-districts in our State District which is #3. When this happens, change get made. The County GOP’s and the State GOP need your support. Our new leadership at the State level will be very positive for the Nebraska Republican Party.

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