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Election Politics

Nebraska Democrat Senate nominee in hot water over lewd text

Nebraska Senate nominee Chris Janicek has lost the support of the state’s Democratic Party after sending a sexually explicit text to a female staffer. The party is calling on Janicek to withdraw from the race.

Janicek is running against the Republican incumbent Sen. Ben Sasse in November.

“Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment,” state Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb said. “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.”

State Sen. Kate Bolz (D) who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Nebraska also called on Janicek to withdraw.

“I am appalled and disturbed by the inappropriate language used by Chris Janicek in reference to a campaign staff member. Inappropriate references to personal behavior have no place in campaigns or in any workplace. I call on him to drop out of the race for United States Senate,” Bolz tweeted.

The crude remark was sent in a group text message including the female staffer. In the message, Janicek expressed his frustration in the staffer and asked if the campaign should spend some money “getting her laid.” He added that “it would probably take three guys” before getting very graphic in describing how the woman would need to have group sex.

In the same text thread, Janicek apologized to the group saying that it was a joke and he was operating on no sleep and lots of excitement. He admitted being out of line.

Janicek told CNN that his comment was not sexual harassment because he is an openly gay man. He claims the party is using the text as a crutch and has always wanted him out of the race because of his stances on issues like gun control and abortion. He says that he has no intention of withdrawing from the race.

The staffer has hired attorney Vincent Powers who says that Janicek has apologized in person to his client but she did not accept the apology. She wants him to withdraw.

“People go to work for Democratic candidates in an underdog race because they’re idealists,” Powers said. “So, when you get a text like this, it’s just devastating.”

One of Janicek’s primary opponents, Alisha Shelton, is now planning to run as a write-in candidate in November.

I join the @NebraskaDems in calling for Chris Janicek to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race due to sexually inappropriate language with a staffer. I spoke to former primary opponent @AngieForNe. I am prepared to run as a write-in candidate against Chris Janicek with her support,” Shelton tweeted.

Janicek defeated six other candidates in the Nebraska Democratic primary race this year. He faces an uphill battle in the race against Sasse.

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