Nebraska 1st District Representative Jeff Fortenberry’s political fortunes took a major hit Friday when two of the state’s most prominent Republicans withdrew their longtime support for the 9-term congressman, who’s awaiting trial on federal charges.
Incumbent Gov Pete Ricketts and his immediate predecessor former Gov Dave Heineman endorsed State Senator Mike Flood of Norfolk, owner of a number of Nebraska radio stations and News Channel Nebraska.
Fortenberry is charged with making false statements to federal investigators about an illegal $30,000 campaign contribution in 2016 from a foreign national and not properly disclosing it in his campaign filings.
Flood, in announcing his candidacy earlier this month, cited the possibility of the case costing the Republicans Fortenberry’s seat, and Ricketts spoke to it as well in his endorsement of Flood.
Ricketts said “we can’t take risks” with the seat and that “Republicans need to come together to back the strongest candidate,” which he said is Flood.
Both Ricketts and Heineman praised Flood as a strong conservative with Heineman also calling him “a man of action and a person of integrity.”