The GOP race for governor has a new player and this one isn’t looking for votes but is telling the top three campaigns to, in effect, pull some key commercials.

[View portions of all  three ads above]

The player is the University of Nebraska which has sent 2-page, legal-letters to the Herbster, Lindstrom and Pillen forces “respectfully” asking them to keep their hands off NU’s logos and other “marks” arguing that all have used the copyrighted materials in an “unauthorized” manner.

At least one of the three, Charles Herbster’s campaign, is fighting back trying to keep its recent TV attack against Pillen, an NU Regent, alive.

The ad accuses Pillen of supporting critical race theory—charges Pillen denies.


According to the NU letter: “The University has recently become aware of advertisements on behalf of your campaign that include the use of University Marks. There is also a recent ad challenging Jim Pillen’s stance on critical race theory, which specifically mentions the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and has been released on television. In addition to the requirement that the University remain neutral in the matter of politics, the University also has a right and obligation to prohibit unauthorized uses of its marks.”

Herbster’s campaign complains NU is trying to protect one of its own, telling NCN, “The University does not want to be exposed in its support of Critical Race Theory and all the other terrible liberal policies that Jim Pillen has supported.”

At the same time though a Pillen ad is being challenged by NU as well.

Pillen, a former NU football player, has been running a TV ad touting his days with the Big Red, an ad that includes 1978 game footage of Pillen making a key play during the Huskers’ hay days against rival Oklahoma.

NU is telling Pillen to get his hands off those NU “marks.”

Not to be ignored, NU is also going after a Brett Lindstrom ad, in which State Sen. Lindstrom—a former Husker back-up quarterback who made it into a few games, according to—spotlights his Big Red jersey as he says, “I dreamed of playing football for the Cornhuskers, I walked on, spent five years in the program. Being part of a team, it builds your character.”

News Channel Nebraska has asked both the Pillen campaign and Lindstrom for comment but so far, we’ve heard nothing. 

As for Herbster his campaign is also telling NCN that NU is trying to suppress its first amendment rights. "We will remove the marks from our ad... but only when Jim Pillen removes himself from the race,” said a Herbster spokesperson.

NU’s letters, all dated February 25, do not say what the University will do if the campaigns ignore the requested changes.

The letters are signed by Stacia Palser, the University’s Vice President and top lawyer.