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Thibodeau picks bombastic rural voice, podcaster Loos as running mate in Nebraska governor’s race

By: - March 31, 2022 7:34 pm

Republican gubernatorial candidate Theresa Thibodeau of Omaha and her new running mate, Trent Loos of Hazard. (Courtesy of Thibodeau campaign)

Former State Sen. Theresa Thibodeau of Omaha announced her running mate Thursday in the Republican primary race for governor. She picked a name familiar to many in Nebraska’s sprawling, largely rural 3rd Congressional District.

Thibodeau tapped Trent Loos, a bombastic central Nebraska rancher known for his rural radio show and conservative political podcast.

“A one-size-fits-all approach will not solve Nebraska’s problems,” Thibodeau said during a news conference in Kearney. “The things that work for Omaha do not work in Valentine or Sidney. Trent and I agree that we must bridge the rural versus urban divide for Nebraska to move forward.”

Loos served on former President Donald Trump’s agricultural advisory board. On his podcast, he often speaks passionately about perceived threats to rural ways of life, including a favorite target of his: environmentalists. He has argued alongside Gov. Pete Ricketts against conservation easements.

He told the Nebraska Examiner on Thursday that he wants to help Thibodeau remind Nebraskans what they can do when government gets out of the way and respects their ability to decide for themselves.

“People need to investigate … instead of just watching TV commercials,” Loos said. “This woman, she has the backbone. She can take a stand. She can exude our freedom.”

Loos and his wife, along with Greg Harder, the former livestock show’s director, were sued last year by the Nebraska State Fair board for filing documentation with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office to hold onto the trade name of the “Aksarben Livestock Show.” 

The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation in Omaha used the “Aksarben Stock Show” name for the show from 1928 until 2018. It loaned the name to the State Fair board from 2018 to 2021, when it transferred the name to the fair, as NTV News of Axtell reported at the time.

Loos, reached Thursday evening, said he and Harder only filed the paperwork because they wanted to make sure the stock show continued in its traditional form. He said members of the State Fair board had told him they might not continue hosting the show.

State Fair officials have disagreed with Loos’ interpretation.

In 2002, Loos pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor involving a sale by deception in a South Dakota cattle fraud case. He said Thursday he made a mistake and did not follow the brand law with a single cow in 1999.

“There’s a brand law for a reason,” he said. “In 2002, I acquired the proper respect for the brand law. It’s a mistake I made.”

Loos, who lives near Hazard, is considered a character by many around Nebraska agriculture. He once rode a camel into a crowded bar on the state fairgrounds, while hollering, “Hump Day!”

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Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also worked as an assignment editor and editorial writer. He was an investigative reporter at KMTV.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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