The open race for Nebraska governor features another familiar Republican proxy fight – former President Trump’s favored candidate versus the pick of term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts. Whoever wins the GOP nomination on May 10 will be the clear favorite, given that the Cornhusker State hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1994.

Trump has endorsed businessman and rancher Charles W. Herbster for the job, while Ricketts is backing hog farmer, veterinarian and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen. State Sen. Brent Lindstrom is also in the mix, with this trio making up the top tier in the eight-way race. But so far it’s largely been a battle between Herbster and Pillen, with one of the earliest tests of how much a Trump blessing can sway an open primary race and how much influence the outgoing Ricketts – who has been floated as a potential 2024 presidential candidate – still holds.

Both Pillen and Herbster are self-funding, quickly making this a high-spending contest that could shatter previous spending records. By the end of 2021, Pillen topped fundraising totals with $5.3 million

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