Trump planning a Nebraska rally to stump for Herbster | Regional Government

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Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a stop in Nebraska to campaign on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster.

Trump, who endorsed Herbster in October 2021, will appear at I-80 Speedway near Greenwood on April 29, the former president announced in an email.

Charles Herbster

Charles Herbster

Parking at the venue will open at 8 a.m., with gates scheduled to open at 3 p.m.

Speakers are set to begin at 5 p.m. before Trump takes the stage at 8 o’clock.

Herbster, who chaired Trump’s Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee and was a close adviser to the former president, including in his final days in office, is listed as a special guest speaker.

“I look forward to joining President Trump on stage to discuss how he fought for Nebraskans as president and how I plan on continuing that fight as governor of Nebraska,” Herbster said in a statement.

The rally announcement comes less than a week after eight women, including Nebraska state Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling, accused Herbster of sexual assault in an article published by the Nebraska Examiner.

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Herbster has denied the allegations and called them a “political hit-piece,” but Tuesday, three more people — including two staff members at the Legislature — told the Examiner they witnessed Herbster groping women at events in 2019 and 2021.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said he supports Slama, who worked for his campaign before she was appointed and later elected to office, and the other women, and said Herbster should apologize and drop out of the race.

Ricketts later said the accusations against Herbster differed from those made against Trump in the lead-up to his 2016 presidential victory, referring to audio of Trump bragging about grabbing women inappropriately.

The former president has also been accused of sexual assault by several women and has denied the claims. Trump has not issued any statements on the allegations made against Herbster.

Next week’s rally will mark the first time Trump has returned to Nebraska since 2020, when he campaigned before thousands of people on a frigid tarmac at Eppley Airfield in Omaha in the days before the general election.

At that time, Trump was seeking to rally support in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and keep an Electoral College vote from going to Joe Biden under Nebraska’s unique system.

The stop included appearances by Ricketts, Sen. Deb Fischer, Rep. Don Bacon and Todd Ricketts, the governor’s brother, who was then the finance chair of the Trump Victory Committee.

Other Nebraska Republicans, including some down-ballot candidates, also led the crowd in prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

But since then, Ricketts and Trump have publicly split over who they believe should serve as Nebraska’s next governor.

Trump endorsed Herbster over the objection of Ricketts, who urged the former president to stay out of the race. Ricketts has backed Jim Pillen, a hog farmer from Columbus who is on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, and said he believes Herbster would be “a terrible governor.”

Omaha Sen. Brett Lindstrom, who has gained support, according to his campaign’s internal polling, is a third front-runner in the GOP primary race.

While Trump’s rally announcement indicated other speakers will address the crowd, it’s unclear whether any of the Nebraska Republican Party’s top candidates running for statewide offices will appear alongside Trump and Herbster at the rally.

The Nebraska GOP was not involved in bringing Trump to Nebraska and has not been involved in any planning for next week’s event, according to executive director Taylor Gage.

“Per our constitution, NEGOP is neutral in the governor’s primary,” Gage said in an email.

In a Facebook post, I-80 Speedway announced that the races originally scheduled for April 29 — which was to be the track’s driver appreciation night — have been canceled.

I-80 Speedway plans to hold a double feature night in the future to make up for the lost races.

Donald Trump Jr. joins Herbster at three stops in Nebraska

Report on Herbster groping allegations sparks firestorm of bipartisan condemnation

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