Charles Herbster & Kellyanne Conway in Omaha
Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles W. Herbster (right) speaks to guests at an event with Kellyanne Conway (left, front). Matt Johnson

Charles Herbster & Kellyanne Conway in Omaha

On Tuesday, August 3, gubernatorial candidate Charles W. Herbster and Kellyanne Conway, Senior Counselor to President Trump, hosted a meet-and-greet event at the Cross Training Center in Omaha. Around 60–70 people attended, and Herbster and Conway casually joined the crowd and mingled with guests before the event started, making for a uniquely casual campaign rally.

Brenda Banks, Executive Director of the Cross Training Center, kicking things off by speaking first about her organization before introducing Kellyanne Conway. Then Conway spoke for half an hour both about Herbster and his top priorities (school choice, property tax cuts, and opposing Critical Race Theory) as well as her experience with the Trump administration. Then Herbster spoke for around fifty minutes, discussing his plans as Governor. He’s the most openly socially conservative candidate I’ve seen in the campaign thus far, talking openly not just about Critical Race Theory, but also school prayer and his becoming a Christian in 1982. He also spoke at length about protecting the border and pushing back against the Washington establishment, but he also hit hard on transgender issues, saying “a cow is a cow and a bull is a bull … and you can’t change one into the other.”

There was a short time for Q&A afterward followed by photos with Herbster and Conway on stage. The crowd was very friendly, though not all in attendance were supporting Herbster — Kellyanne Conway was clearly also a draw. Among the crowd was Frank Kessler, who proudly showed a copy of The Art of the Deal that he’d had Donald Trump sign in 2015 (with a custom-made pen Trump apparently said on-camera was nicer than his own). He had Conway sign this while she was here.

Herbster appears to be the most Trump-like candidate in the running so far, being a successful businessman who seems to be finding new opposition with the party establishment. The parallels are uncanny and likely intentional — his campaign staff even used a portion of the Trump “playlist” used at his rallied before the event got underway. The primary is still ten months away, so it will be some time before we can tell whether Herbster will be as successful in 2022 as Trump was in 2016.

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