Omaha NE.–Half a dozen Republicans are among 21 current and former state lawmakers signing a letter backing Democrat Bob Krist against personal charges leveled by the GOP.
The Nebraska Republican Party accuses Krist, a state senator running for governor, of drinking on the job during last spring’s legislative session.
According to the GOP, “Nebraska voters deserve to know the facts surrounding Sen. Krist’s drinking habits.”
But Krist’s colleagues vehemently disagree. “We stand with Bob Krist…we have never seen him impaired by alcohol in any way when he was in service to the State of Nebraska,” according to the letter released by Krist’s campaign.
The letter goes on to say, “The attack against (Krist) is completely without merit. In fact, the secretly taped video allegations of alcohol abuse fail to show Sen. Krist drinking anything. These types of ‘gotcha’ political tricks have no place in Nebraska.”
The letter, released to the news media, is signed by:
Roy Baker, Kate Bolz, Patty Pansing Brooks, Kathy Campbell, Sue Crawford, Al Davis, Galen Hadley, Burke Harr, Ken Haar, Gwen Howard, Sara Howard, Rick Kolowski, John McCollister, Mike McDonnell, Adam Morfeld, Jeremy Nordquist, Dan Quick, Paul Schumacher, Norm Wallman, Lynne Walz (Krist’s running mate) and Anna Wishart.
In an exclusive interview with News Channel Nebraska this week, Gov. Pete Ricketts said he knew about the videos before they were released by the GOP.
At the same time Ricketts would not comment on them telling NCN he had not seen them.
(See Joe’s on camera interview with Gov. Ricketts above).
NCN’s Joe Jordan: The Nebraska Republican Party, your Party, they’re putting out these videos they say help allege that Sen. Krist drank on the job. But the videos don’t seem to show him drinking. What are your thoughts on that?
Gov. Ricketts: Well, I haven’t seen the videos so I really can’t comment on it, Joe.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Do you think Sen. Krist has a drinking problem? Should that be an issue in this campaign?
Gov. Ricketts: Again, I haven’t seen the videos Joe so I really can’t tell you.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Is the possibility of him drinking an issue in the campaign? Put the videos aside.
Gov. Ricketts: I’ve been talking about the things that I think Nebraskans want to hear about in regards to growing our state, the things we’ve been doing over the past three-and-a-half plus years to grow Nebraska and that’s what I plan to continue talking about.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Did you have any pre-knowledge of those videos going out?
Gov. Ricketts: Well I knew that they had videos on him but like I said I haven’t even seen them myself.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: Since (the videos) are such an integral part of what is going on right now between the Nebraska GOP and Sen. Krist should you take a look at (the videos) and see what they are and maybe weigh in?
Gov. Ricketts: Well, I think I’m going to continue to focus on talking about what we’ve done for Nebraska over the last three-and-a-half years. That’s what we’re focusing on, all the things we’ve done to grow Nebraska in regards to providing that property tax relief, making it easier to do business, the international relationships we’ve developed to be able to grow our trade opportunities. All those are things that help us grow our state. That’s what I’m going to focus on.
NCN’s Joe Jordan: So you won’t be looking at the videos?
Gov. Ricketts: I don’t have any plans to no.
News Channel Nebraska has examined the videos which, according to the GOP, were shot last spring at Billy’s Restaurant down the street from the Nebraska State Capitol.
Here’s what NCN found:
Video 1: Krist and fellow State Sen. Burke Harr are sitting across from each other talking. In the 1-minute and nine seconds Krist never takes a drink…of anything.
Video 2: Krist is behind a bar and it’s not clear what he’s doing (the GOP says he’s pouring himself “another drink.”) But he walks away and out of camera shot never taking a drink…of anything…in the 29 seconds of video.
Video 3: Krist is walking to his car and puts what appears to be a cup on the roof as he opens the back door, takes off his jacket and places the jacket inside. He then takes the item off the top of the car, opens the driver door, gets inside and drives off. In the 51 seconds of video there is no clear view of Krist taking a drink…of anything.