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Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC
Charles Herbster, Nebraska gubernatorial candidate on stage at CPAC on Feb. 27, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Im

Groping scandal intensifies for leading GOP candidate in Nebraska

As Charles Herbster faces groping allegations, his campaign is partnering with Donald Trump and lawyers who’ve worked with the former president.

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As recently as a week ago, Charles Herbster was the frontrunner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Nebraska. The first-time candidate’s political future appeared bright.

That changed abruptly six days ago when the Republican businessman faced groping accusations from eight women. Among the accusers was a sitting GOP state senator, who claimed Herbster reached up her skirt at an event in 2019.

Yesterday, the Nebraska Examiner reported, others are starting to speak on the record about the allegations surrounding the candidate.

Two men and a woman on Monday put their names behind what they said they either saw directly or were told immediately afterward about Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster groping young women at political events. All three said they were upset by Herbster’s denials of the behavior. They said they were also upset by how Herbster and some of his political allies have treated State Sen. Julie Slama since the Nebraska Examiner last week reported the allegations against Herbster.

The gubernatorial candidate has repeatedly denied the allegations, and yesterday, The Omaha World Herald reported that Herbster and his team are working on a libel lawsuit against both the Nebraska Examiner, which broke the story, and Slama, the GOP state senator who first went on the record.

The report added that Herbster “is working with attorneys who’ve worked with former President Donald Trump, his most prominent endorser, to take legal action.”

Indeed, the former president, who was also accused by a series of women of sexual misconduct, is not an irrelevant player in this controversy. Not only are lawyers who worked with Trump apparently assisting Herbster, but Trump also announced yesterday that when he travels to Nebraska for a rally next week, Herbster will be a special guest speaker at the event.

It would appear, in other words, that the former president doesn’t much care about the groping allegations from eight women.

Others in the state GOP have taken a different approach. Last week, incumbent Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Gov. Kay Orr, and all 13 women serving in the Nebraska Senate condemned Herbster.

This week, Ricketts, who is term-limited and can’t run again, told reporters, “I think he needs to apologize to the women, then I think he should seek help, then he should step out of the race.”

At least for now, Herbster doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, though he does have several primary rivals. Primary Day in Nebraska is May 10, but early voting began last week. Watch this space.

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