Jim Pillen elected 41st governor of Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Jim Pillen will be Nebraska’s next governor.
ABC called the race at about 9:25 p.m., as Pillen secured enough votes to defeat State Sen. Carol Blood, a Democrat.
Pillen, a University of Nebraska regent and owner of Pillen Family Farms, will replace Gov. Pete Ricketts in early January.
Pillen grew up on the farm, gaining the trust of the president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Mark McHargue.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in this room that’s going to be more excited to just get to work than Jim,” McHargue said. “I think you’ll see stuff right away out of Jim, and he’s got some good ideas and he’s going to go for it. He’s not going to mess around.”
Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne also made an appearance in support of Pillen on election night.
“He’s got a great work ethic, and I think that’ll show up in the campaign,” Osborne said. “I don’t think anybody would ever outwork Jim. And I think he’ll bring that to the table as a governor.”
One of the first big tasks for Gov.-elect Pillen will be to appoint a replacement for Sen. Ben Sasse, who is expected to resign to become the president of the University of Florida.
“I’m a pragmatic person,” Pillen said. “I don’t worry and put energy into things until they happen. Whether it’s replacing the United States senator, or a judge or a Game and Parks commissioner, we’re working hard to make sure we have the best person possible. We’ll keep the same process in place.”
His victory comes despite refusing to debate any of his opponents, claiming it was “political theater.”
Pillen is the first governor since at least the 1970s to be elected without facing an opponent, according to the Nebraska Examiner.
He had the support of big-name Nebraskans and organizations, like Ricketts, Osborne and the farm bureau.
Joe Kelly, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Nebraska, will serve as lieutenant governor.
Democratic nominee Carol Blood conceded to Jim Pillen after 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
She said that despite the results, she will continue to work for the people of Nebraska.
“We hear you. We’re going to keep fighting for you; that is never going to change,” he said.
To see all of Nebraska’s 2022 general election results, click HERE.