LINCOLN — Republican Pete Ricketts picked up the support of two former Nebraska governors in his bid to become the state’s next governor.
Former Republican Govs. Kay Orr and Charles Thone announced their endorsements at a press conference on Monday.
“With our country and our state facing new economic challenges on a nearly daily basis, Pete has the entrepreneurial background and conservative credentials to move our state forward,” said Thone, who was unable to attend the press conference and issued a statement.
Thone served as governor from 1979 to 1983.
Orr became the first woman to serve as governor, from 1987 to 1991. Orr said she and her family support Ricketts because of his good moral character and core values.
“Pete’s a good person,” she said at the press conference, at the State Capitol. “He’s a good family man, a devoted father and husband, and beyond that he’s a fiscal conservative.”
She also pointed to Ricketts’ background in business. He served as chief operating officer at Ameritrade, an online brokerage company his father founded. It became TD Ameritrade after merging with TD Waterhouse.
Ricketts left the position to mount an unsuccessful Senate bid against Democrat Ben Nelson in 2006.
He said he wants to present himself as “not just an Omaha guy” by visiting more Nebraska cities to meet residents ahead of the 2014 election.
“He’s going to get to know them handshake by handshake,” Orr said. “Take a look, put on the pause button before you make a decision, and look at the candidate.”
The Republican ballot also includes State Sens. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, Charlie Janssen of Fremont and Beau McCoy of Omaha, as well as State Auditor Mike Foley. Former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons and State Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton are competing for the Democratic nomination.
Gov. Dave Heineman cannot seek re-election because of term limits. He has not made an endorsement in the Republican primary for governor, though he has left open the possibility that he could in the future.