Nebraska Democrats call for their Senate nominee to drop out of race
The Nebraska Democratic Party (NDP) on Tuesday called on its nominee in the state’s Senate race to suspend his campaign after he made sexually offensive comments about a staffer in a text message sent to her and other employees.
The NDP said in a statement that Democrat Chris Janicek on Monday declined to comply with a request it made Thursday to suspend his campaign. The NDP’s State Executive Committee later voted unanimously to withdraw all party resources from the Janicek campaign.
“Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment,” said NDP Chairwoman Jane Kleeb. “Our Party will not extend resources or any type of support to any candidate that violates our code of conduct and doesn’t treat men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The Janicek staff member has since quit the campaign. She sent a copy of the derogatory text to the NDP last week and filed a formal complaint with the party on Monday afternoon.
Janicek, who owns a bakery in Omaha, secured the nomination a little over a month ago after winning the primary and is running to unseat Sen. Ben Sasse (R), who is seeking a second term.
The text messages, which were not disclosed by the NDP but were obtained by The Associated Press, were sent in a group exchange involving Janicek and five other people, including the female staffer. Janicek at one point wrote that he had argued with the employee and asked if the campaign should spend money on “getting her laid.”
“It will probably take three guys,” he wrote, going on to provide graphic details of an imaginary sexual encounter.
Janicek later called those comments “a joke,” and texted an apology.
“I’m going on no sleep and a bunch of exuberant excitement and I think I was out of line,” he wrote.
“You are my boss and a candidate running for Senate, [an] office held by just 100 Americans representing approximately 330 million of her people,” the employee responded. “There is zero tolerance for what you said.”
Janicek told the AP he is not dropping out of the race and that he believes he is being targeted by liberals over his stances on issues such as abortion rights and gun control.
“They’re using this as a crutch,” he said.
If Janicek ultimately withdraws, the NDP would be able to replace his name on the November ballot. However, the NDP has no recourse if Janicek refuses to request the Nebraska secretary of state’s office remove his name from the ballot.
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