Pete Ricketts

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Peter Ricketts
Ricketts, Pete 2013-11-04a.JPG
Personal details
Born (1964-08-19) August 19, 1964 (age 49)
Nebraska City, Nebraska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Chicago
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]

John Peter "Pete" Ricketts is the President and Director of Platte Institute for Economic Research[2] and former Chief Operating Officer of Ameritrade.[3] He was the Republican nominee for the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Nebraska,[4] which he lost to incumbent Ben Nelson. He is the current Republican nominee for Governor of Nebraska.


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.[3]

Ricketts and his wife Susanne have three children, Margot, Roscoe, and Eleanor. Ricketts' father is J. Joseph Ricketts, founder of Ameritrade and current owner of the Chicago Cubs.[3] Ricketts currently sits on the boards of the Cubs and Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska (just south of Omaha). In 2007, he became the Chairman of the Board of the Platte Institute for Economic Research.[2] He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Enterprise Institute.

2006 campaign for the U.S. Senate[edit]

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 .[4]

Ricketts received some high-profile campaign assistance, most notably from President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney personally. 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,[3] immigration reform,[5] and agriculture,[6] as well as championing a socially conservative platform opposing gay marriage[7] and abortion.[8] In all, he contributed $11,302,078 of his own money to his campaign, triggering the Millionaire's Amendment which allows his opponent to raise larger amounts from each donor.[9][10] He spent more money than any Senate candidate in Nebraska history.[11]

Ricketts was defeated in the November election, taking only 36 percent of the vote, the worst showing for a Republican Senate candidate in Nebraska in 26 years.[citation needed] He carried just 13 sparsely-populated counties in the western part of the state.[citation needed]

2014 campaign for Governor[edit]

Ricketts is running for Governor of Nebraska in the 2014 gubernatorial election.[12] Ricketts was endorsed by former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin and former Governor of Nebraska Kay Orr in April 2014.[13] After a crowded primary, Ricketts won his party's nomination on May 13.[14] Ricketts won with 26.5 percent, which is the lowest percentage on record for a Nebraska Republican gubernatorial primary victor.[15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Board of Directors, J. Peter Ricketts biography
  3. ^ a b c d Cordes, Henry J. (March 19, 2006). "For Ricketts, it's about earning what you get". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b Cordes, Henry J. (May 10, 2006). "High-spending race for Senate ahead". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Cindy (October 13, 2006). "Ricketts criticized for immigrant idea". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  6. ^ Walton, Don (March 2, 2006). "Ricketts proposes new agricultural savings accounts". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  7. ^ Norman, Andrew. "GOP The Prelims: Candidates Spar Over the Details". The Reader. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  8. ^ Walton, Don (September 19, 2006). "Ricketts pokes Nelson's pro-life credentials". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  9. ^ Bratton, Anna Jo. "Ricketts' bid for office hits nearly $10M out of pocket". Columbus Telegram. Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  10. ^ Tysver, Robynn (October 16, 2006). "In last debate, Ricketts attacks Nelson tie to Columbus firm". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-16. [dead link]
  11. ^ Tysver, Robynn (September 21, 2006). "Ricketts digs deeper into wallet". Omaha World Herald. Retrieved 2006-10-13. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Ricketts Running For Governor". WOWT. September 8, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Reutter, Harold. Sarah Palin stops in G.I. to endorse Pete Ricketts, Grand Island Independent, April 5, 2014.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (May 14, 2014). "Ricketts Wins Nebraska GOP Gubernatorial Nod with Lowest Support in State History". 

External links[edit]

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