Nebraska Sen. Krist launches bid for governor, leaves GOP

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska state Sen. Bob Krist is leaving the Republican Party and launching an independent bid for governor.

Krist kicked off his campaign on Wednesday, saying he'll find nonpartisan ways to reduce property taxes while providing adequate funding for public education.

Krist will officially change his party registration Wednesday to nonpartisan. He says he's becoming an independent to try to restore a nonpartisan attitude in state government and promote more debate on issues. He also says he'll work to fix problems in the Department of Correctional Services.

Krist was appointed to the Legislature in 2009 by then-Gov. Dave Heineman, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. He is challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts in the 2018 election.

The Nebraska Republican Party criticized Krist as "party shopping for a higher office."