From Mother Jones:
On May 20, 2015, the Nebraska state Legislature voted to repeal the state’s death penalty. When the Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, vetoed the legislation six days later, the Legislature overrode his veto. It was an extraordinary move, making Nebraska the first solidly conservative state in more than 40 years to end the death penalty.
But the victory for death penalty opponents was short-lived. Having failed in his role as governor to protect the death penalty, Ricketts worked to reinstate it in a different capacity: As a man of deep pockets. Ricketts and his billionaire father, Republican megadonor Joe Ricketts, spent $300,000 on an effort to collect enough signatures to put the death penalty question to voters, in the form of a referendum on November 8. The governor donated another $100,000 this fall to fund a campaign to sway voters to reinstate the death penalty.