Group Optimistic Death Penalty Petition Effort Will Succeed

August 2.  2015

Organizers of a campaign to reinstate Nebraska’s death penalty say they’re cautiously optimistic they’ll gather enough signatures to place the issue on the 2016 ballot.

Nebraskans for the Death Penalty has less than a month remaining to gather about 58,000 signatures before the August 27th deadline. The group was launched on June 1st with heavy financial backing from Gov. Pete Ricketts and his father, billionaire TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts.

A monthly financial statement released Friday by Nebraskans for the Death Penalty shows Gov. Ricketts donated $100,000 in July, matching his $100,000 June donation for a total of $200,000.

In all, the group raised nearly $400,000 in cash in July. The largest donation came from the conservative, Washington-based Judicial Crisis Network, which gave $200,000.

Nebraskans for the Death Penalty spokesman Chris Peterson says the group has collected signatures from all counties except for Sioux County, but declined to release how many have been gathered so far.

The effort began after Nebraska lawmakers abolished the death penalty last spring despite the governor’s veto.

Danielle Conrad, who is leading the Nebraskans for Public Safety campaign against the referendum, says her group will prepare a “strong and competitive” campaign if the issue makes it to the ballot.

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