It was a contentious day at the Nebraska GOP Convention on Saturday, which saw a change in leadership for the state party, with the emergence of the unofficially termed Patriot Delegates taking control.
This marks the overturning of Governor Pete Ricketts stranglehold on the party in the state. Malia Shirley of the Nebraska Freedom Coalition told The Post Millennial that "the Ricketts machine lost control of the party" on Saturday.
In the days leading up to the convention, six delegates were informed that their credentials had been cancelled. Among those were Fanchon Blythe and Matt Innis of Lancaster County, which includes the capitol Lincoln in its territory. Innis promised to attend the convention anyway, and when he did, he was arrested. Blythe was threatened with arrest if she didn't leave the premises, which she did.
Shirley told The Post Millennial that it was overwhelming support among the delegates that convention led to their being credentialed and seated, along with three others who consider themselves among the Patriot Delegation.
The Nebraska Freedom Coalition gave a play-by-play on Twitter.
As a result, Dan Welch was ousted as Chairman of the NEGOP, and replaced with Eric Underwood. The vote to remove Welch was 204 in favor v. 124 opposed, Shirley told The Post Millennial.
Multiple resignations followed among the establishment, pro-Ricketts camp, including 1st congressional district chair John Orr, a relation of former Governor Kay Orr, and 2nd congressional district chair Nancy McCabe, a former secretary for Ricketts, who immediately jumped ship after Welch was removed. Lydia Brasch, Nebraska National Committee Chairwoman for the RNC, also resigned, according to Shirley.
The letter to Blyth read that the attendee's "vocal support for recruiting a non-Republican candidate for Governor against the NEGOP's 2022 gubernatorial nominee cause the Committee to decline to credential you." The letter went on to urge the recipient to "support our Republican nominees as we enter the fall campaign."
Blythe told The Post Millennial that what she actually did was express interest in learning more about a candidate for office, Dave Wright.
It was earlier on Saturday that Innis was arrested for trying to attend the convention. His credentials had been pulled because of his "vocal criticism of Governor Ricketts, the top Republican elected official in the state and leader of our party," per a letter sent to him by the NEGOP. He had assured constituents and the party that he would attempt to attend.
When Innis, who ran in a GOP primary against Ben Sasse in 2020, attempted to enter the convention, he was prevented from doing so, and was arrested. Later, he was credentialed and seated at the convention, as was Blythe.
A previous version of this article stated that John Orr was 3rd congressional district chair, but he is with the 1st congressional district.
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