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Pete Ricketts

For the senior British diplomat, see Peter Ricketts.
Pete Ricketts
Bald man in open-collared shirt
Ricketts in 2013
40th Governor of Nebraska
Assumed office
January 8, 2015
Lieutenant Mike Foley
Preceded by Dave Heineman
Personal details
Born John Peter Ricketts
(1964-08-19) August 19, 1964
Nebraska City, Nebraska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Chicago
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Government website

John Peter "Pete" Ricketts (born August 19, 1964) is the 40th and current governor of the U.S. state of Nebraska, and the former chief operating officer of Ameritrade.[1] He was the Republican nominee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Nebraska,[2] which he lost to incumbent Ben Nelson. He ran for governor of Nebraska in the 2014 election, this time defeating the Democratic Party's nominee, Chuck Hassebrook. He was inaugurated as governor on January 8, 2015.


  • Personal life 1
  • 2006 U.S. Senate campaign 2
  • Governor of Nebraska 3
    • 2014 campaign 3.1
    • Tenure 3.2
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Personal life

Ricketts was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and now lives in Omaha. He attended the University of Chicago for both his bachelor and graduate studies, and received an MBA in marketing and finance from the university's Graduate School of Business.[1]

Ricketts and his wife Susanne have three children. Ricketts is the son of Marlene and J. Joseph Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade. Ricketts currently sits on the Boards of the Cubs and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska. In 2007, he founded and became the Chairman of the Board of the Platte Institute for Economic Research. Ricketts resigned from the Platte Institute in order to run for Governor.[3][4] He is also a former member of the Board of Trustees of the American Enterprise Institute.[5]

Ricketts' siblings are Todd Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and Thomas S. Ricketts.

2006 U.S. Senate campaign

Ricketts was the 2006 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat held and retained by Democrat Ben Nelson. His opponents in the primary were former Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg and former state Republican chairman David Kramer. Ricketts spent nearly $5 million of his own money out-of-pocket, outspending his opponents 10–1 in winning the nomination .[2]

Ricketts received some high-profile campaign assistance, most notably from President Dick Cheney. Bush appeared at a campaign rally for Ricketts on November 5, 2006, just days before the election, in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Ricketts ran on a conservative platform, emphasizing fiscal responsibility,[1] immigration reform,[6] and agriculture,[7] as well as championing a socially conservative platform opposing gay marriage[8] and abortion.[9] In all, he contributed $11,302,078 of his own money to his campaign, triggering the Millionaire's Amendment which allowed his opponent to raise larger amounts from each donor.[10][11] He spent more money than any Senate candidate in Nebraska history,[12] but was defeated by Nelson by a margin of 36%–64%.

Governor of Nebraska

2014 campaign

Ricketts ran for governor of Nebraska in the 2014 gubernatorial election.[13] Ricketts was endorsed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former Nebraska governor Kay Orr.[14] After a crowded primary, Ricketts won his party's nomination on May 13.[15] He won the primary election with 26.5 percent of the vote, the lowest percentage on record for a Nebraska Republican gubernatorial primary victor.[16] In the November 4, 2014, general election, he defeated Democrat Chuck Hassebrook, taking 58% of the vote to Hassebrook's 39%.[17]


Ricketts was inaugurated as the 40th governor of Nebraska at the Nebraska State Capitol on January 8, 2015.[18][19][20]

Ricketts has spent a large majority of his term attempting to undue the Nebraska State Legislature's vote to abolish the death penalty.[21] He has publicly avowed his support for the execution of ten death row inmates. On multiple occasions Ricketts has attempted to illegally import the drug used in lethal injection despite an FDA ban on its import.[22] Ricketts has spent several hundred thousand dollars of his personal fortune in support of a petition campaign, headed by the Nebraskans for the Death Penalty organization, aimed at undoing the repeal on the death penalty. The campaign resulted in a successful block of the repeal, whose fate will be decided by popular vote in the 2016 election season.[23]


  1. ^ a b c Cordes, Henry J. (March 19, 2006). "For Ricketts, it's about earning what you get". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  2. ^ a b Cordes, Henry J. (May 10, 2006). "High-spending race for Senate ahead". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  3. ^ Hammel, Paul (October 3, 2013). "Platte Institute: Overhauled Nebraska tax system could drive more jobs". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Duggan, Joe (October 19, 2014). "After failed tuneup in 2006, Pete Ricketts says he's road-tested and ready to lead". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Walton, Don (May 8, 2014). "Cheney says Ricketts would be great governor". Lincoln Journal-Star. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Gonzalez, Cindy (October 13, 2006). "Ricketts criticized for immigrant idea". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  7. ^ Walton, Don (March 2, 2006). "Ricketts proposes new agricultural savings accounts". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  8. ^ Norman, Andrew. "GOP The Prelims: Candidates Spar Over the Details". The Reader. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  9. ^ Walton, Don (September 19, 2006). "Ricketts pokes Nelson's pro-life credentials". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  10. ^ Bratton, Anna Jo. "Ricketts' bid for office hits nearly $10M out of pocket". Columbus Telegram. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  11. ^ Tysver, Robynn (October 16, 2006). "In last debate, Ricketts attacks Nelson tie to Columbus firm". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-16. 
  12. ^ Tysver, Robynn (September 21, 2006). "Ricketts digs deeper into wallet". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  13. ^ "Ricketts Running For Governor".  
  14. ^ Reutter, Harold. Sarah Palin stops in G.I. to endorse Pete Ricketts, Grand Island Independent, April 5, 2014.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (May 14, 2014). "Ricketts Wins Nebraska GOP Gubernatorial Nod with Lowest Support in State History". Smart Politics. 
  17. ^ "Governor's race results".  
  18. ^ "Pete Ricketts Sworn In as Governor". January 8, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 
  19. ^ Associated Press (January 8, 2015) – "Pete Ricketts Sworn in as 40th Governor of Nebraska". Kearney Hub. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  20. ^ Stoddard, Martha (January 8, 2015) – "Q&A: Pete Ricketts Offers Glimpse of His Vision for Nebraska". Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^

External links

  • Pete Ricketts for Governor
  • 2006 Campaign Funding for Pete Ricketts
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
Party political offices
Preceded by
Don Stenberg
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nebraska
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Deb Fischer
Preceded by
Dave Heineman
Republican nominee for Governor of Nebraska
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Dave Heineman
Governor of Nebraska
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