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Trump and his allies to campaign for Herbster at I-80 Speedway

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Trump and his allies to campaign for Herbster at I-80 Speedway

A rally planned for Friday night in Greenwood in support of Charles Herbster’s bid to become Nebraska’s next governor will feature former President Donald Trump and several of his close allies.

Trump announced the lineup in an email on Thursday. Friday’s event is being held at the I-80 Speedway, approximately halfway between Lincoln and Omaha.

Herbster was an early supporter of Trump and later chaired his Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee and served as an advisor.

Herbster, the CEO of Conklin Co., was in Washington D.C. in the final days of Trump’s presidency before he announced a run for governor.

The event will feature Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and longtime counselor; David Bossie, president of Citizens United; Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference; and Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow.

According to a rally organizer, parking will be available at the venue beginning at 8 a.m., with on-site ADA parking spots available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Attendees will be asked to enter I-80 Speedway from 238th Street to the southeast of the venue. Parking will be near the entrance, to the northeast of the racetrack as well as on the track’s infield.

Once parked, guests will be asked to walk to the event entry on the southwestern corner of the property. Doors open at 3 p.m., with entertainment, special guest speakers, food, and beverages available throughout the day.

The U.S. Secret Service will screen all rally-goers upon entry. A prohibited list of items includes alcoholic beverages; large backpacks, bags, or suitcases; chairs; coolers; firearms; noisemakers; umbrellas; weapons; and “any other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners.”

An email from the event organizer says those attending are encouraged to wear masks and face coverings during the entry and screening process — areas where 6-feet of social distancing is not possible.

The program is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Trump is expected to take the stage at 8 p.m. to deliver remarks.

The timing could put speakers on stage at about the same time meteorologists predict a line of storms could sweep through the area. The National Weather Service puts the chance of rain on Friday evening at 70%.

An event organizer did not immediately respond to a question from the Journal Star about the rally’s plans for inclement weather.

The former president’s appearance in Nebraska comes a week and a half before the May 10 primary election in which Herbster is locked in a three-way battle for the Republican nomination for governor.

Other frontrunners in the race include Jim Pillen, a hog farmer from Columbus and member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, as well as Omaha state Sen. Brett Lindstrom.

The rally also comes after Herbster has been accused of sexual assault and groping by eight women, including state Sen. Julie Slama.

He has denied the accusations and labeled them a “political hit-piece,” likening himself to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, who also was accused of sexual assault and misconduct.

In a television ad that hit airwaves earlier this week, Herbster’s campaign said — without evidence — the accusations were organized by Gov. Pete Ricketts, a political ally of both Slama and Pillen.

Ricketts, who allied himself with Trump, has said he believes Herbster would be a “terrible governor” and has called on the agribusinessman to drop out of the race.

Others told the Nebraska Examiner, which broke the story, they witnessed the alleged assaults, and earlier this week, four state senators set up a fund to support the women who have accused Herbster.

During a Zoom call with reporters last week, Herbster said he did not plan to address the accusations on stage Friday.

The rally, which will draw vendors that follow Trump at his appearances across the country, was not organized in concert with the Nebraska GOP.

Racing was canceled Friday at the I-80 Speedway and will be made up at a future date, the track said on its website.

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