Voter guide: Nebraska’s 2022 general election

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Here’s a guide to Nebraska’s 2022 general election on Nov. 8.

Sample ballots can be found here.

For governor and lieutenant governor

Jim Pillen / Joe Kelly (Republican)

Pillen is currently a University of Nebraska regent and owns Pillen Family Farms.

He declined to debate anyone in the leadup to both the primary and general elections.

Pillen has earned several endorsements, some of the most notable being Tom Osborne, Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

His platform includes fixing the state’s “broken” property tax system, growing the economy and strengthening rural communities, according to the campaign website.

If Pillen were to win, he would be the first governor since at least the 1970s to be elected without facing an opponent, the Nebraska Examiner reported.

Pillen picked Kelly to serve as his lieutenant governor back in April.

In 2017, then-President Donald Trump appointed Kelly to serve as the U.S. attorney for the District of Nebraska.

In 2021, he resigned and joined the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office as the chief of the criminal bureau.

Carol Blood / Al Davis (Democratic)

Blood is a state senator representing Bellevue.  She was elected in 2016.

She says the four pillars of her campaign are prosperity for all Nebraskans, maintaining public safety, investing in state infrastructure and encouraging education.

In response to Pillen turning down a debate in August, Blood called on him to “step up to the plate and do his job as a candidate for a statewide office.”

She chose Davis to be her running mate in March.

Davis previously served in the Nebraska Legislature as a registered Republican before switching to the Democratic Party.

Scott Zimmerman / Jason Blumenthal (Libertarian)

Zimmerman is an elementary teacher, according to his website bio.

His platform focuses on economic freedom and civil liberties for all Nebraskans, the bio says.

Blumenthal, who is serving as Zimmerman’s running mate, believes that the best Nebraska is possible when “government stays out of the way.”

He is a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and is currently an account manager in information technology.

For representative in Congress, District 1

Mike Flood (Republican)

Flood was victorious in June’s special election, filling the seat left vacant by former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

He is a former state senator, representing Norfolk and its environs, and speaker of the Legislature.

Since going to Washington, Flood has voted against an abortion rights bill, a mass shooting alert system and the Inflation Reduction Act.

A full list of everything Flood has voted on since his appointment can be found here.

Flood has been a strong opponent of President Joe Biden’s fiscal policies.

“Joe Biden’s reckless spending continues to fuel record inflation,” Flood said in a press release on Oct. 13.

He also called out Biden’s “failed immigration policy” when he visited Arizona to see the border in September.

Patty Pansing Brooks (Democratic)

Pansing Brooks is a member of the Nebraska Legislature.  She was elected to the role in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

Her campaign focuses on health care, the economy and infrastructure.

In June, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Pansing Brooks, saying she will protect reproductive rights.

She has also earned endorsements from former Sen. Bob Kerrey, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and first lady Susanne Shore.

On Oct. 2, Channel 8 hosted a debate between Flood and Pansing Brooks

«Watch the full debate»

For representative in Congress, District 2

Don Bacon (Republican)

Bacon is running for reelection, having served in the position since 2016.

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1985 to 2014 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

Bacon’s website says he is a strong defender of the Constitution, conservative values and national security.

Tony Vargas (Democratic)

Vargas is a state senator who represents south Omaha.  He was elected in 2016.

He says his campaign is focused on the needs of working families, including access to affordable health care, a living wage and better education.

Vargas previously served as a member of the Omaha Public Schools board, according to his website.

For representative in Congress, District 3

Adrian Smith (Republican)

Smith, a Gering native, is running for reelection.  He was elected to the position in 2006.

He previously worked as an educator, a real estate agent and a member of his hometown’s city council.

Smith has worked to secure the border, defend Nebraskans’ constitutional freedoms and address inflation, according to his website.

David J. Else (Democratic)

Else’s website says he will fight against spending on war and foreign countries.

He also says he will fight for free health care, push for a strong agricultural economy and raise the minimum wage.

Mark Elworth Jr. (Legal Marijuana NOW)

Elworth is a marijuana activist who is petitioning to legalize the possession of marijuana in Nebraska, according to his Ballotpedia survey.

His three key messages are legalizing marijuana, growing hemp “to save the Earth,” and promoting freedom and liberty.

When asked what was the last song that got stuck in his head, Elworth responded with “Hits on the Bong” by Cypress Hill.

For state treasurer

John Murante (Republican)

Murante is a former state senator who represented part of Sarpy County from 2013 to 2019.

He resigned after being elected state treasurer in 2018.

He has been endorsed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Murante’s website will fight tax increases and will make sure tax dollars do not go to organizations like Planned Parenthoode.

Katrina Tomsen (Libertarian)

Tomsen is the Libertarian candidate for state treasurer.

She earned 1,824 votes in Nebraska’s primary election, according to Ballotpedia.

For attorney general

Mike Hilgers (Republican)

Hilgers is a state senator who represents northern Lancaster County.  He is also the speaker of the 107th Legislature.

He has been endorsed by current Attorney General Doug Peterson, Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Hilgers’ website says he fights for the unborn, the law enforcement community, constitutional rights and election integrity.

Larry Bolinger (Legal Marijuana NOW)

Bolinger is an Alliance native who has previously served with the U.S. Air Force and the National Guard, according to his website.

He ran for Congress in 2018 and 2020.

On his website, Bolinger says he will focus on law reform by reconsidering penalties for victimless crimes and working to reduce recidivism.

For auditor of public accounts

Mike Foley (Republican)

Foley is the lieutenant governor of Nebraska and has served in the role since 2015.

He was previously elected state auditor in 2006 and 2010.  Foley is also a former state senator, representing part of Lancaster County from 2000 to 2007.

In March, Foley endorsed Charles Herbster for Nebraska governor, putting him on the opposite side of Gov. Pete Ricketts in the contentious Republican primary.

Gene Siadek (Libertarian)

Siadek currently works for the Metropolitan Utilities District as the director of water distribution, according to his Ballotpedia survey.

His said the three key messages of his campaign are bringing back liberty back, “aggressively” looking for abusive government spending and that the “old parties” need more competition.

If elected, Siadek said he would send a strong message that government excess needs to stop.

Leroy Lopez (Legal Marijuana NOW)

Lopez is the Legal Marijuana NOW candidate for auditor of public accounts.

He received 852 votes in the Nebraska primary election.

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Nebraska voters will also weigh in on three different ballot initiatives this year.

Voter ID

If passed, Initiative Measure 432 would amend the Nebraska Constitution to require voters to present a valid photo ID before casting a ballot.

Those in favor of the measure say it would help prevent fraud in the state’s election.

In February, Secretary of State Bob Evnen rejected allegations of voting fraud in the state.

Voting rights organizations say that if approved, the initiative would make Nebraska one of the most restrictive states on voter ID.

The initiative exceeded the required number of signatures, with 136,458.

Minimum wage

If passed, Initiative Measure 433 would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2026.

Those in favor say the change would benefit the state’s economy, as people would be able to invest more.

Opponents believe the change could be detrimental to small businesses, which would be undercut by large corporations.

The initiative garnered 97,245 verified signatures.

On Oct. 18, public hearings were held in Lincoln on the voter ID and minimum wage initiatives.

READ MORE: Nebraskans hear about voter ID, minimum wage initiatives before election

Airport growth

If passed, the amendment would allow cities, counties or any political subdivisions that own airports to use their revenue to develop or expand commercial passenger services.

Many hope that the amendment, called Grow Nebraska, will aid the growth of airports across the state and, in turn, the state’s economy.

State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan said the amendment “isn’t going to raise anybody’s taxes.”

READ MORE: Ballot measure could help Nebraska airports land more airlines

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