Theresa Thibodeau, Trent Loos, Bob Evnen, and John Murante at the Pizza Ranch
Gubernatorial candidate Theresa Thibodeau and running mate Trent Loos speak to guests at the Pizza Ranch at 84th and Center in Omaha.

Theresa Thibodeau, Trent Loos, Bob Evnen, and John Murante at the Pizza Ranch

The River City Republicans had four guests for their monthly luncheon at the Pizza Ranch — gubernatorial candidate Theresa Thibodeau and her running mate Trent Loos, Secretary of State Bob Evnen, and state treasurer John Murante.

Theresa Thibodeau, Trent Loos

Trent Loos, a radio host and rancher from Hazard, Nebraska, got up to talk about his joining the Thibodeau campaign to “bridge the gap” between the rural western part of the state and the urban eastern areas of Lincoln and Omaha. Loos mentioned infrastructure problems with focus on “rural broadband” rather than a highway in Norfolk 33 years overdue for repairs. Loos said, “my upload speed is five times faster than it is at [Thibodeau’s] house,” and “I can pull up on my phone what sow was eating out of a feeding station at my house right now and it’s 240 miles away.”

Thibodeau then stepped up to speak about cutting taxes and getting rid of Nebraska’s TEEOSA formula. “every child in this state deserves the same amount of funding for education,” Thibodeau said. She also advocated bringing in “a private audit group to audit every level of government to cut out the waste and inefficiencies.”

Thibodeau also spoke on the proposition of Roe v. Wade being overturned, a topic that became quite apparent that following evening when a draft decision was leaked to Politico. “i am confident roe v wade will be overturned in June,” Thibodeau said, “and with the right legislature we have a huge chance to end abortion forever in this state.

Secretary of State Bob Evnen

Bob Evnen

Bob Evnen, who faces primary challenges from Robert Borer and Rex Schroder, spoke on a number of election-related issues, including “Zuckerbucks,” securing ballot drop boxes, preventing ballot harvesting via drop boxes, and enacting Voter ID.

On Voter ID, Evnen said, “No one wants their vote to be canceled out by someone who cast a ballot who wasn’t entitled to do.” He was optimistic that voter ID would pass via ballot initiative after failing to be enacted via the unicameral. Among other issues, he advocated a return to a “winner take all” policy for votes in the electoral college.

Evnen spoke specifically against one accusation leveled by his primary challenger Robert Borer on Election Systems & Software (ES&S). “The claim is that ES&S is owned by the Russians,” Evnen said. “ES&S is owned by Mike McCarthy … he’s a huge investor in Omaha businesses and has been for decades.” Evnen went on to describe the process of the voting machines used to count ballots. “Our ballot counting machines are not connected to the internet, and the ballot counting machines are monitored by representatives — republican and democrat.”

Evnen also pressed that there was no fraud at the state level in 2020 and directed guests to a document on the Secretary of State website, titled “FAKE vs. FACT: Setting the Record Straight about Nebraska’s Elections.”

“Our system is secure,” Evnen concluded. “No one has brought forth evidence to me that shows that it’s other than that.”

State Treasurer John Murante

John Murante

The final speaker was State Treasurer John Murante, local businessman, former state legislator, and grandson of the founders of Big Fred’s Pizza. He gave a brief, personal biography describing his entry into politics and interest in fiscal issues at the state level. He also encouraged guests to visit the unclaimed property websites, where apparently $250 million for around 20% of Nebraskans in unclaimed cash is sitting idle waiting to be claimed.

Murante went on to talk about the Biden administration and some particularly antagonistic political moves being made against various states, an issue that spurred the formation of a “NATO-like alliance” among 27 state treasuries in anticipation of an “attack” on any one of their economies. As an example, Murante described JP Morgan Chase pulling the plug on campaign software used by the Missouri Republican Party after it invited Donald Trump Jr. to speak at one of their events. “at first they wanted to keep the money that was raised,” said Murante. “Their argument was, Donald Trump Jr. is a terrorist, and therefore you he could not raise money through the platform.” Within 12 hours of this, the Missouri state treasurer went on Tucker Carlson’s program on Fox News and said the 27 state treasurers in this “NATO-like” alliance “will never sign a contract with JP Morgan Chase again.” JP Morgan Chase reversed their decision before the program had ended.

The guests were invited to speak on behalf of the River City Republicans, who meet monthly on the first Monday at lunch with various candidates, elected officials, and other speakers.

Audio from program