Sarpy GOP endorses Dan Frei, censures Don Bacon at county meeting
Sarpy GOP member Matt Barros (right) introduces a motion to censure Congressman Don Bacon.

Sarpy GOP endorses Dan Frei, censures Don Bacon at county meeting

On Thursday evening, Sarpy County Republicans voted to endorse several candidates in local and state races, including school board members, a public defender, and candidates for US Congress. It was the latest in a series of battle lines drawn as the GOP at the state and county level has shifted away from incumbent candidates and endorsed primary challengers.

Dan Frei

One prominent primary challenger is Dan Frei, who is running against four-term incumbent Don Bacon. Frei seemed to get the loudest and strongest applause from the crowd at the meeting on Thursday. During his allotted two-minute stump speech, he spoke on shutting down the “woke agenda” in schools, protecting the border, and ending deficit spending.

“We’re $34 trillion in debt … how many trillions of dollars is too much before you say you’re going to stop saddling my kids and my grandkids with additional debt?” Frei asked. “When I’m in D.C., if there’s a spending bill that lands on my desk, and it has year-over-year spending, I am a no vote.”

John Glen Weaver is running for US Senate against former Governor Pete Ricketts, who was appointed by Jim Pillen to fill Sen. Ben Sasse’s seat when he resigned in 2023. Both men are now running in a special election to finish out Sasse’s term.

Weaver highlighted his years of service in the United States Air Force and advocated for ending military intervention overseas. “We’re in a military community here. Sarpy County is one of the most conservative counties in the nation. And you all show up,” Weaver said. “We have to end these foreign wars. I served in them for 20 years. A lot of you guys have served in these foreign wars overseas — multiple deployments for 20 plus years. And where did it get us?”

Weaver also called out Sen. Ricketts for his reluctance to get engage in a debate with his primary challenger. Weaver asked for a show of hands of who wanted to see a debate. Nearly every hand went up.

Michael Connely was running against Don Bacon in District 2. When Dan Frei entered the race, Connely switched to District 2 to run against Mike Flood.

“If you want to know anything about what I believe, just talk to Dan Frei, because we’re basically doppelgangers,” Connely said. “If Dan gets up there, he’s going to be a real pain in the ass in Congress, and I will join him.”

Other candidates who received the county party’s endorsement were legislature candidates Ben “Felix” Ungerman (LD3), Bob Andersen (LD 49), and Caleb Muhs (LD 49); State Board of Education candidate Linda Vermooten; and candidates for school boards in Bellevue, Pappilion La-Vista, and Platteview-Springfield, as well as the Learning Community.

Public Defenders

There was a moment of contention between two candidates for Sarpy County public defender, incumbent Tom Strigenz and Todd West.

“I’m the only lifelong Republican in this race running for the public defender’s office,” Strigenz said. “I think my opponent has been a Democrat his whole life until he switched back in September of this year to run as a Republican.”

Todd West questioned Strigenz’s integrity during his brief stump speech. “This past term, the all-Republican county board asked my opponent to resign after an expensive misconduct investigation that was conducted by an outside law firm. He refused, and he’s running for a sixth consecutive term,” West said. “I won’t expose the county to massive liability for misconduct against my own staff. And I won’t spend a public dollar to go on trips alone with a subordinate.”

When the votes were counted afterward, Todd West received an endorsement from the county party, while Strigenz did not.

Motion to Censure

During new business, as the votes to endorse candidates were being counted, member Matthew Barros presented a motion to censure Congressman Don Bacon, which drew audible gasps from the crowd. The resolution included several perceived grievances from the party, including:

  • voting for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (HR 3684), “a Green Energy and Climate Regulatory bill disguised as a $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill.”
  • voting against an NDAA amendment “defunding DEI and eliminating DEI training for service members”
  • voting for the Respect for Marriage Act, which codified same-sex marriage into federal law
  • co-sponsoring the Domestic Terrorism Act of 2022, joining with 204 Democrats; “strengthening the FBI’s ability to monitor, analyze, and investigate domestic terrorist groups. The same FBI that one year prior was naming parents of school board meetings ‘domestic terrorists.'”
  • voting for the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136), which “would have awarded 1.8 Million illegal immigrants with amnesty.”

The motion was approved by a voice vote, which did not include a single “no” from the seated members. Once it was adopted, the crowd gave the resolution a standing ovation.

Winner take all

Incumbent challengers Weaver and Frei will both be speaking at an event next week hosted by Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA to rally support for Nebraska’s to switch its electoral college vote allocation to a “winner take all” system. This movement has gained sudden momentum over the past week, drawing support from Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen and even President Trump.

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