In line with state Sen. Julie Slama (R), Herbster reached up her skirt with out her consent and touched her inappropriately as she walked by throughout a neighborhood Republican fundraiser in a crowded ballroom in 2019. Elizabeth Todsen, a former aide to a state senator, stated Herbster grabbed her buttocks after stopping to greet her desk on the similar occasion. A number of ladies advised the Nebraska Examiner that Herbster touched them inappropriately once they greeted him or posed for a photograph.
Trump, who has confronted and denied a number of allegations starting from sexual harassment to rape, has backed different candidates who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct or home violence and denied the allegations.
They embrace Herschel Walker, a U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia who has been accused of threatening the lives of two ladies, in addition to Sean Parnell, who ended his U.S. Senate marketing campaign in Pennsylvania final yr amid home abuse allegations, and Roy Moore, a 2017 candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama who was accused by two ladies of initiating undesirable sexual encounters when Moore was in his 30s and so they have been 16 and 14.
Onstage earlier than Trump spoke Sunday, Herbster briefly addressed the allegations, saying that the “political institution” didn’t need him to win. “They’re attempting to scare me out of this race and it’s not going to occur,” Herbster stated. “We’re going to take again Nebraska.”
He in contrast his imaginative and prescient for “making Nebraska nice once more” to Trump’s method to the presidency, rolling up his sleeves to tackle unlawful immigration and defend non secular freedom. “That is my present,” Herbster added. Trump referred to as Herbster “an excellent man.”
Trump’s presence within the Nebraska race has pitted him towards outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), who has stated that Herbster could be a “horrible governor” and helps a rival candidate, College of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen.
The sexual assault allegations towards Herbster have turn out to be a contentious matter within the major. Herbster has prompt that Ricketts was behind them, which the governor has denied. Taking a defiant stance much like Trump, Herbster has argued that each of them have been falsely accused for political causes.
“It’s a playbook from the previous,” Herbster advised former Trump adviser Stephen Okay. Bannon on his “Struggle Room” podcast. “Look what they did to Clarence Thomas. Look what they did to Donald J. Trump. Look what they did to Brett M. Kavanaugh. Now, it’s Charles W. Herbster.”
Herbster tapped former prime Trump White Home official Kellyanne Conway to assist along with his marketing campaign final yr, together with former Trump marketing campaign supervisor Corey Lewandowski. In December, he parted methods with Lewandowski, when the adviser was accused of sexual harassment.
Trump had been scheduled to rally with Herbster on Friday however the outside occasion was delayed as a consequence of heavy wind and rain. The Sunday rally included two conservative activists who’ve falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump: MyPillow chief govt Mike Lindell and Republican activist David Bossie, the producer of the a brand new documentary titled “Rigged.”
Trump endorsed Herbster final yr, stoking tensions amongst native Republicans, beginning with Ricketts, who had urged the previous president to not get behind the candidate. In January, the governor endorsed Pillen. “I respect many accomplishments President Trump had,” Ricketts stated. “However on this subject we’re going to disagree.”
The allegations towards Herbster threw extra uncertainty into what pollsters see as a three-way race between him, Pillen, and state Sen. Brett Lindstrom (R), with state Sen. Theresa Thibodeau (R) not far behind. Whereas Trump gained Nebraska by 19 factors in 2020, and remained overwhelmingly well-liked with Republicans within the state, some major voters stated that they weren’t offered on supporting Herbster.
The Herbster marketing campaign, which didn’t reply to a request for remark, has had different issues. Final July, his preliminary operating mate, Thibodeau, give up the ticket, saying that the candidate was “chaotic and disorganized” and never prepared for the highest state job.
“I by no means noticed that there was any actual need to study Nebraska or study Nebraska coverage,” Thibodeau, who went on to enter the gubernatorial major, stated in an interview. “These management traits simply aren’t there.”
Herbster, who has spent $5 million of his personal wealth on his marketing campaign, was seen to be main a decent race when Slama accused him of groping her in 2019. Herbster sued for defamation, saying that the “false accusations and assaults on my character” had been “a part of a higher scheme” to defeat him.
“We are going to present this lawsuit for what it’s: a frivolous and dangerous religion try and bully a sexual assault sufferer into silence,” an lawyer for Slama stated in an announcement offered to The Washington Publish.
At a parade right here in Nebraska Metropolis on Saturday, celebrating the one hundred and fiftieth annual Arbor Day, Herbster raced forwards and backwards throughout the route, shaking fingers and telling one household to not “imagine all of the crap” they have been listening to.
Some voters grabbed indicators for the Herbster marketing campaign, with the phrases “Trump endorsed” below his title. Many have been skeptical of the allegations Herbster is going through.
“He’s one of the best suited to the job,” stated Terry Coen, 36. “I don’t actually assume it issues. I don’t assume there’s any physique to it.” His spouse Summer season, 43, stated, “Persons are going to say no matter they’re going to say, regardless of who it’s.”
Republican opponents haven’t referred to as on Herbster to give up the race, however they’ve criticized his response to the allegations. In a short interview, Pillen dismissed his rival’s suggestion that he’s merely the newest in a line of conservatives to face false accusations. “Since I’m a veterinarian and pig farmer,” stated Pillen, “I’d name that hogwash.”
Lindstrom, stated that he didn’t imagine in a “rush to judgment,” however added that he knew and trusted the 2 recognized accusers, Slama and Todsen. “Once I take a look at the individuals who’ve come out, I are likely to take their phrase for it,” he stated after talking to supporters on Saturday. “Personally, having daughters and being within the political world, it’s just a little disheartening to listen to that somebody who’s operating for governor would, or may have, engaged in that form of exercise.”
The rival candidates should not alone in questioning his protection or explanations. When the allegations have been first reported, all 13 ladies within the Nebraska Senate signed a letter that referred to as the allegations “disqualifying” and “utterly unacceptable.”
“Sexual assault is despicable and damaging,” they wrote, together with state Sen. Carol Blood (D), who’s operating unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. “This isn’t a query of politics. It is a matter of character and primary human decency.”
Herbster has launched a tv advert each denying the accusations and noting that Slama as soon as labored for Ricketts. In a information convention this week, Herbster defined that he had “taken the route of attorneys to guard my title and my fame.”
“I respect all ladies, all females throughout this land,” Herbster stated. “The variety of calls and textual content messages and prayers coming in to me has been completely overwhelming.”
On Tuesday, 4 Republican state senators, all ladies, launched a Herbster Sufferer Witness Authorized Protection Fund. In a joint assertion, they accused Herbster of attempting to “wield the judicial system as a weapon to silence his victims” and keep away from accountability, including that “survivors of sexual assault and witnesses ought to be free to return ahead and inform the reality.” Two stated they acquired letters from Herbster’s authorized representatives.
Arlene Osantowski, 81, had traveled practically two hours to attend the Trump rally on Friday. When it was postponed, she and her sister-in-law headed to a Thibodeau rally close by, each saying that they deliberate to assist her. Herbster had enterprise pursuits outdoors the state, there have been questions on his taxes, and so they have been uncomfortably changing the rich Ricketts with one other multimillionaire governor, they stated.