The results are in for the 2020 primary elections and the Nebraska Democrats are off to an encouraging start. Democratic candidates have a real opportunity to pick up two U.S. House seats and to deny Pete Ricketts a filibuster proof legislative majority.
The Democrats’ best U.S. House pickup opportunity is in the Omaha based CD02 in which Kara Eastman emerged as the Democratic nominee. A new poll from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee indicates that Kara Eastman is leading Rep. Don Bacon by a 48–47% margin and that Joe Biden is beating Trump 52–41%. Eastman will be getting a lot of resources from the DCCC and other national groups. Nebraska CD02 is a true swing district that has been in play since the 2006 election cycle.
Nebraska CD01 will also be in play this cycle because State Senator Kate Bolz is Jeff Fortenberry’s strongest challenger since 2006. Fortenberry is dogged by his sixty votes to take away insurance from 20 million Americans and end pre-existing condition protections. The long time incumbent is also widely (and correctly) perceived as an ineffectual back bencher. For example, the City of Lincoln got zero dollars from the $3 trillion in stimulus recently passed by the Congress.
Democratic candidates are also off to a good start in the key legislative races that will determine whether or not there will be a check and balance on Pete Ricketts. Currently, there are 30 Republicans in the Unicameral, 18 Democrats and Ernie Chambers. The billionaire governor would like to have 33 Republican senators to create a filibuster proof majority.
In order to create a rubber stamp legislature, Ricketts targeted three incumbent Democratic senators in Republican leaning districts in Sarpy County, Dodge County and Hall County. However, Carol Blood, Lynne Walz and Dan Quick all won overwhelming victories over Ricketts backed opponents.
The billionaire governor also targeted three seats in Republican leaning districts in which Democratic incumbents have been termed out. Those legislative districts are in south Lincoln, Millard and Bellevue.
In LD 29 in south Lincoln, Eliot Bostar emerged from a crowded field as the de facto Democratic nominee. The three Democrats in south Lincoln garnered between them 57% of the vote.
In LD 31 in Millard, Tim Royers finished a very close second to a well known, former GOP state senator.
In Bellevue based LD45, Sue Hester beat the former Mayor of Bellevue by a 51% to 49% margin.
The surprise of the night was in Sarpy County based LD 49. In that race, business owner Jen Day beat a Ricketts appointed incumbent 53% to 47%.
Heading into this election cycle, the Democrats essentially had to defend 12 out of 25 seats. The Republicans are expecting to gain up to three seats in November. However, the Nebraska Democrats running for the legislature came out of the primary in a strong position to not only hold all of seats targeted by Ricketts but also in a position to even pick up one seat.
I would recommend that you commit your time and/or money to good Congressional and legislative candidates. Elections have consequences. Let’s chase the money changers out of the temple in 2020!