LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Wealthy Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts prevailed in a tightly contested Republican race for Nebraska governor on Tuesday, defeating the state’s longtime attorney general and four other contenders who sought to replace Gov. Dave Heineman.
Ricketts, 49, held a small lead over Bruning throughout the night.
Ricketts will be a heavy favorite in the November general election against Democrat Chuck Hassebrook, as Republicans have held the Nebraska governor’s office since 1999.
A former executive of TD Ameritrade, the online brokerage founded by his father, Ricketts won endorsements from some leading conservatives including Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Ricketts also is a member of the board of the Chicago Cubs, the professional baseball team his family bought in 2009.
But his path to the nomination turned rocky in recent weeks, as he sparred with Bruning over negative television ads.
In his victory speech, Ricketts said he would make good on his promises to cut taxes in Nebraska.
“This is just the first step,” he said. “We are now on a journey that is going to take us to November. This is no time to let up. This has just begun, and we’ve got a lot of work left to do.”