Jim Pillen won’t be taking sides in GOP primary
Jim Pillen speaking at the Pachyderm Luncheon in Omaha.

Jim Pillen won’t be taking sides in GOP primary

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds not only endorsed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis yesterday in Des Moines, she plans to join him on the campaign trail. The move is a stark contrast to her predecessor, Terry Branstad, who only endorsed Donald Trump in May of 2016, when Iowa Caucuses had long since concluded and the GOP field had cleared, with Ted Cruz suspending his campaign a few days earlier.

“We need someone who won’t get distracted, but will stay disciplined, who puts this country first and not himself,” Reynolds said at a rally with DeSantis in Des Moines on Monday. “That leader is Ron DeSantis,”

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen spoke at the Greater Omaha Pachyderm Luncheon, and I had the chance to ask if he were prepared to make a similar endorsement. “I’m going to encourage everybody,” Pillen said. “I don’t care if it’s President of the United States or running for a Unicameral seat, my job is to encourage, recruit, and get people fired up do we have great people to choose from. Once we get through the primary, I will roll my fist up and fight like hell.”

A handful of candidates running for “down the ballot” positions were in the crowd of around 100, including Linda Vermooten, running for State Board of Education (District 2) and Edward Weniger, running for Papillion-LaVista School Board. There was also one undeclared candidate — Michael Connely, who had previously run for Governor against Pillen. I had seen him at another GOP event recently, and when I asked if he had plans to run for office again soon, he patted me on the shoulder and simply said, “yes.”