Charles Herbster, accused of sexually assaulting eight women, lost the Republican primary for Nebraska governor Tuesday to University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen.
The race was largely a three-way contest between Herbster, a multimillionaire agribusiness executive; State Sen. Brett Lindstrom and Pillen.
Herbster is a longtime donor and ally of former President Donald Trump, and he received a lift when the previous president endorsed him late last yr. Trump went to the state to campaign for him as recently as May 1 and held a tele-rally lower than per week before the election.
Trump ― who himself faces accusations of rape, assault and harassment from much more women ― called Herbster a “positive man” on the rally and said “he’s innocent of those despicable charges.”
“I even have to defend my friends, I even have to defend folks that are good,” he told the gang. “These are malicious charges to derail him long enough that the election can go by before the correct defense may be recommend.”
Trump’s endorsement of Herbster didn’t please many Republicans within the state. Last yr, outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) asked the previous president to remain neutral. Ricketts has since endorsed Pillen, saying Herbster could be a “terrible governor.”
Eight women have accused Herbster of groping them, including a state senator in his own party. State Sen. Julie Slama told the Nebraska Examiner that in 2019, she was at a GOP fundraising dinner when she walked by Herbster. In accordance with the Examiner, “he reached up her skirt, without her consent, and touched her inappropriately.”
One other woman who attended the identical dinner and has worked as a legislative aide in Nebraska, said Herbster also assaulted her at the identical dinner.
“For years I even have struggled with an experience I had with Charles W. Herbster,” Elizabeth Todsen said. “At a political event in 2019, Herbster sexually groped me while greeting my table.”
Herbster took a page out of Trump’s playbook, denying the allegations and attacking the ladies who made the accusations. He even sued Slama for defamation, calling her claims “a part of a greater scheme calculated to attempt to defeat my candidacy.”
However the accusations took their toll, and Herbster lost his momentum. All 13 women within the Nebraska state Senate ― which incorporates each Democrats and Republicans ― signed a letter saying that Herbster’s alleged behavior was “completely unacceptable” and that he was “unfit to serve.”
Trump won Nebraska by 19 percentage points within the 2020 election, and there hasn’t been a Democratic governor there in many years. On the Democratic side, Nebraska state Sen. Carol Blood won her party’s gubernatorial nomination Tuesday.