Custer County rancher and restaurant owner Jim Jenkins said Monday he has decided not to be an independent candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson at the end of the year.

"I have determined that there is not time to raise the money and build the organization necessary to make a credible run," Jenkins said in a written statement.

Jenkins had considered an independent petition bid, but that opportunity was thwarted by recent legislation that imposed an early deadline for scrapping his political party registration prior to the beginning of this election year. 

Subsequently, Jenkins considered the route of creating a new independent political party and seeking the Senate seat as its nominee.

"It is unfortunate that Nebraska election law creates barriers for candidates who represent the fastest-growing segment of voters -- the independent voter," Jenkins said.

"I have no doubt that an independent candidate who is well-funded and organized can win in Nebraska," he said.

Jenkins said people supporting an independent movement in Nebraska will launch a website called to help organize and inform independent voters.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at