Omaha, NE.—Somebody is up to something.
News Channel Nebraska has learned of a poll asking registered Republican voters who they favor for governor in the GOP’s May primary.
The call gives three options: Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Gov. Dave Heineman and Charles Herbster the “kingmaker from the Plains,”according to Politico.
Of course at the moment Ricketts is the only one of the three running for governor.
Every now and then rumors—they don’t even qualify as “reports”—rumble that Heineman is thinking about the race but that’s as far as it goes.
Herbster’s name apparently pops up because he’s well-heeled, led candidate Trump’s 2016 farm advisor committee and ran a short, long-shot bid for governor in 2014.
So who’s behind the poll?
We start the questioning with Team Ricketts campaign manager Jessica Flanagain:
NCN: Are you aware of a poll asking voters if they prefer Charles Herbster, former Gov. Dave Heineman or Gov. Pete Ricketts?
Flanagain: The poll has been brought to my attention by you as well as posts on social media.
NCN: Is this poll done by you or by someone on behalf of the Ricketts’ campaign.
NCN: Are you surprised someone is polling on this?
Flanagain: Nothing really surprises me.
NCN: Do you have any idea who is behind the poll?
Flanagain: Unfortunately, I do not have any additional insight to share.
NCN has received this statement from Heineman-Herbster spokesman, Carlos Castillo: “Neither Mr. Herbster nor Governor Heineman have commissioned any sort of poll. We only became aware of it when folks reached out to tell us they got a phone call. I’m also unaware of any outside group conducting this sort of survey in Nebraska.”
So the three obvious suspects say not me.
But the cloak and dagger doesn’t stop there.
According to a spokesperson for the Nebraska Public Service Commission, because “it would appear to be a live call” —the caller asks for a specific member of the household by name—the poll falls short of the robo-call guidelines requiring the script to be registered with the PSC.
The filing deadline for non-incumbents—such as Heineman and Herbster—is March 1.
Joe can be heard: