Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Yesterday He Was A Republican State Senator; Today's He's A Democrat-- And Running For Governor


Until this morning, Nebraska Republican state Senator Bob Krist was running for governor as an independent. Although it's been leaking for a couple of days, today he announced he was quitting the Republican Party and running as Democrat against Governor Pete Ricketts.

It probably has more to do with the desire to automatically appear on the May 15 primary ballot without having to collect petition signatures than anything to do with a transformation to the ideals and values that some Democrats still believe in, although Krist often crossed the aisle and voted with Democrats against official GOP positions, driving the Republican leadership up the wall.
After Krist switched his voter registration Monday, Democrats said he will be a competitive candidate, while Republicans criticized his path to becoming a Democrat.

Krist had previously said he planned to create a new political party and gather the 5,500 signatures necessary to do so. Then, earlier this month, he filed a lawsuit to challenge a state law that says nonpartisan candidates who want to run for statewide office need to collect more than 100,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

Krist also struggled to raise funds as an independent-- he ended 2017 with $14,000 in the bank.

Krist on Monday confirmed that he had switched parties but declined to comment further. He has scheduled a press conference Tuesday with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and current and former state senators.

Krist was appointed by former Gov. Dave Heineman as a Republican. He has often bucked his own party leaders on issues such as prenatal care for illegal immigrants but has said that his opposition to abortion separates him from the Democratic Party.

Ricketts’ campaign manager, Jessica Flanagain, said: “Krist has had a drama-filled pathway to registering with the (Democratic) party he’s voted with for years.”

And at a Monday press conference, Nebraska Republican Party officials tried to paint him as disingenuous for the party switching.

“I think what we’ve seen today is more flopping around than a catfish on a sandbar,” said Republican National Committeeman J.L. Spray.

In response, Krist’s campaign released a statement: “Voters are fed up with this kind of constant partisan politics from Gov. Ricketts and his party bosses that divide us rather than unite us. I pledge to bring all of us together and to focus on unity and problem-solving, not ideology to move our great state forward.”

State Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha, a Democrat, said Krist has a good record.

“I’m glad that he’s finally come home to his roots, which is representing the working-class person,” he said.

Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb declined to comment Monday.

Two other Democrats have announced that they’re seeking the seat: Vanessa Ward, a pastor from Omaha, and Tyler Davis, a University of Nebraska at Omaha instructor.
Today Kleeb told us that "The Democratic Party welcomes Sen. Krist and his strong leadership with the disability community, veterans and years of working across the aisle for Nebraska’s families. We have over 130 Democrats running this cycle and are offering Nebraskans a real choice at the ballot box to end one-party rule." Krist is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and the fact that he flew over 100 combat missions probably means more to most establishment professional DC Dems than where he stands on issues like Medicare-for-All and other factors that are driving the energy of the resistance and the determination of the grassroots to take back the government from Trump and his enablers.

I know this is mean, but I do want to mention that when former Florida Governor Charlie Krist switched parties and "became" a Democrat, he won a congressional seat. He now votes with the Republicans about as frequently as with Democrats on the crucial issues the House takes up. ProgressivePunch rates him an overall "F." Just sayin'. As for the Nebraska Krist, he's been fairly anti-Choice, was given an "A" by the NRA, is good on marijuana policy and switched from being anti-LBGT to being a good voter on gay issues. Planned Parenthood has graded him a couple of zeroes but their latest grade for him was 50%. I wonder how he'd be on the cutting edge agenda Bernie will be running on in 2020, things like Job Guarantee and cancellation of student debt. What do you think?

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At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Nebraska there is only an imaginary line between 'republican' and 'democrap'. Both are pro corporate anti woman anti immigrant (except for corporations hiring them cheap as in meat processing plants) anti poor... in fact anti everyone that isn't corporate, white, male and hetero. They're not mean about their anti's, but they're still anti.

Sounds like this guy is an opportunist. Win or lose, as soon as the trump stink abates, he'll go back to being a Nebraska R/D with the R.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what is so great about the Establishment Democratic party. Even an Ex-Republican is welcome to join it. But, progressives are.........

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Skeptical Partisan said...

If the Republican Party maintains its current trajectory, it will flame out, much like the German Nazi Party (hopefully without a destructive war). Then the Democratic Party will just publicly acknowledge its true colors, a right of center party. The question becomes which left party will establish enough of a following to become an real opposition party as opposed to remaining vanity ideological parties.

As it stands now, the Republican Party has little room to maneuver itself out of its rigid extremism. Right wing media would need to moderate its message and there are no media owners willing to absorb the loss of viewership that would involve.

At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SP, the Rs are actually finding that there is no "too far right" in America that their voters won't follow them. They've been a regional racist Nazi party for decades now. And they've kept their rabid following no matter how evil they overtly become.

The worst case for the Rs is the left finds a new party, elects permanent majorities and relegates the Rs to Nazi rule of the south and just a couple other Nazi states (IN, OH, UT...).

But the best case for the Rs is what they've enjoyed for decades -- the democraps keep degrading and the D voters keep noticing. Suppressed turnout helps the Rs nationally.

At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Suppressed turnout helps the Rs nationally."

It has been thus ever since JImmy Carter buried the Democratic brand once and for all. During the campaign, Paul Weyrich said the following:

"I don't want everybody to vote...As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

-Remarks to the Religious Roundtable (August 1980), quoted in The Hidden Election (1981) by Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers

And for almost 40 years, the Democraps have done absolutely nothing about this, except to stuff their heads deeper up their derrieres as they morph into DINO-Whigs and follow lamely in the wake of the GOP toward their well-earned historical demise as a political party.

But keep thinking about changing the Party from within. You will convince them that you really don't have anywhere else to go and they don't have to change at all.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

It is a sign of the success of the "pro-life" BS and the equally successful BS from the Democrats that so many people don't understand one can oppose abortion while at the same time supporting choice. It's the opposition to choice that's the problem, not how any one candidate feels about abortion.


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