Ricketts, Fischer advance to general election

May 14, 2024, 2 p.m. ·

Ricketts Victory Speech
Photo by Brian Beach

U.S. Senate incumbents Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts won their respective elections Tuesday by wide margains. Nebraska is the only state with both Senate seats up for election this year, thanks to former Sen. Ben Sasse’s October 2022 resignation to become the President of the University of Florida.

Both Ricketts and Fischer declared victory shortly after the first results were announced around 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

Ricketts Advances

Ricketts defeated challengers John Glen Weaver and Mac Stevens with roughly 80 % of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Ricketts is running in his first election for Senate, after Gov. Jim Pillen appointed him to serve in the role until the next special election could be held this year. Ricketts filled the seat left vacant by Sasse.

Pete Ricketts watch party
Supporters of Pete Ricketts gather at a watch party in Omaha. (Brian Beach, Nebraska Public Media News)

Ricketts held a significant advantage in campaign funds, while Weaver had the endorsement of the Nebraska Republican Party and more than a dozen county GOPs.

None of the five Congressional Republicans in Nebraska received endorsements from the state party for the primary election.

Ricketts had the endorsement of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, and a majority of state senators in the Nebraska legislature.

Preston Love Jr., from North Omaha, is the only registered Democrat in the race. He will face Ricketts in the fall. The winner will serve the remaining two years of Sasse's term.

Fischer to face Osborne in November

In the other U.S. Senate race in Nebraska, Deb Fischer handily defeated challenger Arron Kowalski, tallying close to 80 % of the vote.

Neither Fischer nor Kowalski was endorsed by the state Republican Party, but Fischer did have the endorsement of Nebraska’s governor, congressmen, and 32 state senators.

Labor union leader Dan Osborn is an independent candidate who received enough signatures to appear on the ballot in November and will face off against Fischer.

In the Legal Marijuana NOW Party primary for Fischer’s seat, Kerry Eddy defeated Kenneth Peterson in her party primary by around a 2 to 1 margin.

According to her campaign website, Eddy plans to place her support behind independent candidate Dan Osborn, a labor union leader from Omaha, in the general election.

No Democrat filed to run in the race.

Wednesday morning, Osborn announced he would not be accepting endorsements from any political party or platform.

The Nebraska Democratic Party had planned on endorsing Osborn in the general election, but in a statement, the party said it now plans to put forward a write-in candidate in November.

“Elections are won by addition, not subtraction and today by Dan going back on his word, he is telling Democratic voters that he doesn’t want their party’s support," the statement said.

The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5.