Nebraska Republican bolts party, welcomed by Dems

Just days after the state auditor jumped the Republican ship, state Democrats nominated her Saturday to run as their party’s candidate for auditor in November.

“I appreciate the Democratic Party’s support,” State Auditor Kate Witek told the Grand Island Independent. But she says her party switch is about good government, not just keeping her job.

“I have 14 years’ experience in government, and I’m sure I would find a job somewhere,” Witek said.

Witek, 51, switched parties Wednesday, criticizing the Republican Party for what she called a lack of interest in solving the state’s problems. She said she and the Democratic Party appear to have the same goals, including “getting spending under control” and governmental accountability.

Witek would not have been able to run for auditor as a Republican; she was Republican Tom Osborne’s running mate in the gubernatorial primary and lost that bid. Republicans have already nominated state Sen. Mike Foley as their auditor candidate.

Republicans had raised questions about her motives and the legality of her late addition to the Democratic ticket, pointing out that she did not file as an incumbent by the February deadline.

Democrats point to a state law that says candidates defeated in the primary can run again if a vacancy exists.