If you tuned into any debates in the GOP race for governor, one candidate has stood out by not standing out.

As we’ve reported extensively, Jim Pillen has given the debates a pass.

It’s a strategy that is playing a key role in this race and as NCN’s Joe Jordan tells us it is likely to play a key role in future campaigns as well.

[View our full video report above]

At the Omaha GOP Governor’s debate when only three of the top four state house hopefuls showed up it was no surprise, that's because the 4th candidate NU Regent Jim Pillen has made it clear he’s not debating.

A political blunder, according to former GOP Gov. Dave Heineman who insists not debating is a mistake. 

NCN’s Joe Jordan: Mr. Kelly, are you comfortable with Mr. Pillen's decision not to debate?

Joe Kelly: “I am.”

That's right Pillen’s recently named running mate former US attorney Joe Kelly is OK with the silent treatment.

"It's the perfect fit for him because Jim Pillen shaking a hand and looking somebody in the eye gives a much better chance of a vote coming his way than Jim Pillen with a lot of other candidates saying essentially the same thing on a stage," says Kelly. "So, for Jim and his personality it made perfect sense to me. People who meet Jim Pillen one on one like him.”

Former Gov. Dave Heineman: Nebraskans expect candidates who run for governor, for Senate, Congress to debate their opponents. When Tom Osborne and I ran against each other we had six debates, I think. They expect you to stand in front on a panel of media persons, who are not going to tell you the questions in advance. You’ve got to answer those questions and they want to see how you respond under pressure and when someone makes a criticism.”

NCN’s Joe Jordan: Don't debates give voters a chance to compare people side by side?

Joe Kelly: I think he's given the voters a lot of chances to do that and will continue to do that both through the forums and through all of his speaking engagements around the state.

Announcer: “I welcome you to the final 2020 presidential debate…”

The Nebraska debate-debate follows a January letter from the National Republican Party to the Presidential Debate Commission vowing that without major changes the GOP would prohibit Republican nominees from participating in any future debates.

Joe Jordan:

If Jim Pillen loses it would seem likely that his debate blocking would not be repeated by any other candidates anytime soon, but if Jim Pillen wins—well you do the math.