Nebraska gubernatorial candidate highlights agricultural roots, Trump connection in campaign

SIDNEY, NE — One of the men who has entered their name into the race to be Nebraska’s next governor is making their way across the state to start his campaign.

"I'm going to be loyal not only to Donald J. Trump, but to every single voter in Nebraska," gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster said.

Herbster, a Falls City native and agribusinessman formally announced his run for the office Monday. Wednesday he was in the Panhandle explaining why now is the time for him to get into the race.

"I really feel that governors are going to be the last defense against federal government overreach in this country," Herbster said.

Herbster has close ties to former President Donald Trump. He served as the chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee for the Trump campaign starting in 2016.

The gubernatorial candidate touted his loyalty to the former president Monday at his kickoff event. Critics say he’ll work in Trump’s best interests and not Nebraskans.

"Nebraska does not need another right-wing millionaire in the Governor's Mansion who is out of touch with hardworking Nebraskans," Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb said in a statement responding to Herbster's campaign announcement.

Herbster says Trump’s policies and goals benefitted the Cornhusker state, therefore Trump's interests were Nebraska's interests.

"Almost every single thing that President Donald Trump did when he was in office was very very positive for the state of Nebraska," Herbster said. "What's going on now is very very negative."

Herbster has also faced criticism after attending Trump’s January 6th rally in Washington D.C. — the same day rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

"Herbster is the same guy who helped fund the Jan. 6, Trump rally that led to a deadly insurrection at the Capitol which left five people dead," Nebraska Democratic Party Vice Chair Spencer Danner said in a statement.

Herbster flew out of Washington D.C. for Florida after the rally, but before the riot began, according to the Omaha World Herald, and condemned the actions of the mob on social media that day.

"While I support the right for every American to peacefully protest, what is happening at the Capitol is unacceptable and dangerous," Herbster posted to Twitter on Jan. 6. "We must be better than this. Please pray for peace, our country and safety of all Americans."

Despite close bonds with the former world leader and being CEO of six companies, Herbster believes he has a strong connection with the everyday Nebraskan as a farmer and rancher.

"I am the average Nebraskan," Herbster said. "Born and raised on a farm, actually dairy farm, fourth generation. I understand legacy extremely well."

He also says work needs to continue on the tax front to attract more people and business to the state.

"There's a whole lot of things I think we can do, I know we can do, where we can create an environment where people will stay in Nebraska and we can get people to come to Nebraska."

University of Nebraska Regent and former Husker football player Jim Pillen has also entered the Republican race for governor.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts cannot run for the office again due to term limits.