Recently CatholicVote.org announced its endorsement of businessman Pete Ricketts in the race for governor of Nebraska. Since our announcement, we have received emails and calls affirming our endorsement as well as others questioning our choice. Some have pointed out that there are several candidates vying for the Republican nomination who boast strong records on life, marriage, and religious liberty including State Auditor Mike Foley and Attorney General Jon Bruning.
Pete Ricketts has been long-time defender of the unborn and supports marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Ricketts also supports education reform, market-based reforms to health care, and is 100% committed to protecting the rights of conscience and the religious liberty of business owners and religious organizations alike. He also has executive experience having served as COO of Ameritrade, and has proposed an economic plan we believe will serve well the citizens of his state.
Admittedly, other candidates in the race share many of these same policy goals. This is not a race between one pro-life candidate and radical pro-abortion competitors. That we endorsed Ricketts does not mean we are condemning Bruning or Foley. For example, in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries CatholicVote.org endorsed Rick Santorum. That did not mean we deemed other pro-life and pro-family candidates like Rick Perry unworthy of support from Catholic voters, or even Mitt Romney, who we later endorsed in the general election and worked aggressively to elect.
Another example also comes to mind. In 2012, CatholicVote.org got involved in the Texas Senate primary battle, which pitted that state’s lieutenant governor against the solicitor general. Both men were pro-life and pro-family. When we endorsed then solicitor general Ted Cruz, we received some criticism from supporters of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Why were we picking sides?
At that time we were convinced that Ted Cruz would be a more consequential leader and a stronger voice, if he were elected to the position. While we don’t agree with every decision Ted Cruz has made since, there’s no doubt that he’s made a substantial mark on the U.S. Senate.
That doesn’t mean that CatholicVote.org is infallible in our endorsements. These judgments, like many political judgments are prudential in nature. We research extensively each of the candidates and the issues, talk to leaders in the respective state, and then do our best to determine who has the courage, commitment to the foundational issues, and leadership skills needed to advance the cause of life, family, and freedom.
Catholic voters in Nebraska can choose to agree with our judgment or not. There are several good choices for Governor of Nebraska. We remain convinced that Pete Ricketts rises to the top.