Omaha, NE.—Bob Krist has made his fight official, formally asking the Nebraska Supreme Court to keep his name on the May Democratic Primary ballot for governor.
Just a few days ago Tyler Davis, another Democrat running for governor, told the high court Krist’s name should not be on that ballot.
The key issue in all this is a 20-year-old decision by the Nebraska Secretary of State , first reported exclusively by News Channel Nebraska.
Davis is following the lead of some political insiders who claim that Krist, who had filed as an independent (non-partisan) a few months earlier, missed a December deadline to join the Democratic Party and run for governor this spring.
But a 1998 state memo and present-day email unearthed by NCN say otherwise.
In a letter (highlighted below) to the Keith County Clerk dated Feb. 3, 1998 then-Secretary of State Scott Moore said, “It is my position that someone who amends their registration from non-partisan to affiliate with a political party has not affected ‘A change in political party affiliation…’ but has instead chosen to declare an affiliation.”
In a recent email Deputy Secretary of State Wayne Bena backed up the 20-year-old decision: “While (the memo) is from 1998, it is still the policy of this office,” wrote Bena.
Krist had been a registered Republican for more than a decade before becoming an independent in September as he looked to form a new political party—United Nebraska—in his bid for the governor’s mansion.
In its filing to the high court Team Krist argues United Nebraska never got off the ground and “has not become an organized political party in Nebraska, nor is it a political party in Nebraska with which Mr. Krist has affiliated as a registered voter.”
Davis finds Krist’s party hopping ridiculous. “Nebraska’s elections, and the laws that govern them, should not be treated like a game,” Davis said.
Top officials with the Nebraska Democratic Party, who clearly want Krist to be the party’s nominee against Gov. Pete Ricketts in November, side with Krist in this legal fight.
While it’s not clear when the high court will rule Davis believes all this must be decided by March 21— before the ballots go to print.
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