Nebraska US Senate Democratic nominee Chris Janicek has been under intense pressure from Democratic leaders to leave the race after stories surfaced that he had sent sexually suggestive texts to several campaign staff members. So far, Mr. Janicek has refused to resign from the ticket. He can still do so until September 1st, giving the state Democratic Party an opportunity of replacing him.
Former one-term US Representative Brad Ashford, who was denied re-nomination for his House seat in a 2018 comeback attempt, says he will launch a write-in campaign for the Senate seat if Mr. Janicek refuses to leave the race. Seeing that Mr. Janicek has agreed to a major September 4th debate with Sen. Ben Sasse (R), it appears that the general election will continue with the two originally nominated candidates. Therefore, the most likely conclusion to this race suggests that an Ashford write-in candidacy will go nowhere, and Republican incumbent Sasse will be easily re-elected.
Due to well publicized sexually inappropriate texting, Nebraska Democratic US Senate nominee Chris Janicek is being asked by his party leaders to resign from the November ticket. Mr. Janicek is pledging, however, to continue his longshot campaign to unseat Sen. Ben Sasse (R).
The Nebraska Democratic Party is taking their opposition to Mr. Janicek even a step further, however. The leadership, according to state chair Jane Kleeb, has already voted to replace Mr. Janicek with former Senate candidate and mental healthcare therapist Alisha Shelton. The only way to remove Janicek, however, is if he voluntarily steps down since he won the Democratic primary back on May 12th.
Regardless of who his eventual opponent may be, Sen. Sasse is headed for an easy re-election.
Nebraska’s 2nd District becomes one of the more important CDs in 2020 because of its effect upon the presidential race. Nebraska and Maine are the two states that split their electoral votes, so a candidate winning a district opposite of the statewide count earns an extra EV.
The new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll (6/30-7/5; 502 NE-2 likely general election voters) conducted for the Kara Eastman campaign actually gives their client and 2018 Democratic nominee a 50-49% lead over incumbent Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) in a race that again promises to be tight.
The presidential numbers are much different, however. GQR finds Joe Biden leading President Trump, 51-44%. Such a result would not likely flip Nebraska to the Biden camp, but could possibly deliver him an important extra electoral vote, one that could conceivably cause a tie in the Electoral College in a close national result.
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) just received two impressive Democratic insider endorsements in his re-match with progressive left Democratic nominee Kara Eastman. Bob Krist, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, and former Nebraska Democratic Party executive director Barry Rubin both publicly endorsed Rep. Bacon yesterday. The 2018 contest saw Mr. Bacon defeating Ms. Eastman, 51-49%, and the 2020 version is also expected to be competitive.
The US House general election ballot in the Cornhusker State is now set. In the 1st District, veteran Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) will face state Sen. Kate Bolz in what could be a more competitive general election.
In the 2nd District, 2018 Democratic nominee Kara Eastman, who scored 49% of the vote against two-term Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillon/Omaha), will get her re-match after scoring a 61% victory over Ann Ashford, wife of former Congressman Brad Ashford (D-Omaha), and restaurant manager Gladys Harrison in last night’s Democratic primary. Rep. Bacon defeated a minor Republican opponent with 91% of the vote.
In the expansive 3rd District that occupies about 3/4 of the Nebraska land area, seven-term Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Gering/Grand Forks) easily defeated four Republican opponents with 82% of the vote. He will face marijuana legalization activist Mark Elworth Jr. in the general election. Mr. Elworth was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Rep. Smith is a prohibitive favorite to win in November.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R) was easily re-nominated last night with a 75% Republican regular primary win against minor opposition. For the Democrats, local Omaha business owner Chris Janicek topped a field of seven candidates in a campaign where no one even raised $100,000. Sen. Sasse now becomes a prohibitive general election favorite.
Today is Election Day in three states as two special congressional elections will be decided, and Nebraska holds its regular primary.
The California special election will fill the seat that former Rep. Katie Hill (D) resigned due to scandal in the latter part of 2019. The candidates are state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) and retired Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia (R). Both parties have spent heavily, and the candidates have raised and spent over $2 million apiece. Additionally, several points of controversy has arisen here as Smith was caught on camera belittling Garcia’s military experience, whether or not the all-mail voting system with limited polling places has been corrupted, and if the final result in a politically marginal district is a harbinger of what we might see nationally in November.
Don’t expect a quick result. With California’s system of allowing ballots to come in days after the election and having until July 15th to certify the vote, tonight’s vote will just be the beginning of what figures to be a rather long process. Regardless of the outcome, both candidates have qualified for the ballot in the November general election and will face each other again.
Late last year, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) resigned his seat for family reasons and the successor will surely be chosen tonight. In a district that stretches through most of northwest Wisconsin, Republican state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) is the heavy favorite going into today’s balloting in a district that has become securely Republican during the current decade. The Democratic nominee, who has only spent about $350,000, is Wausau School Board member Tricia Zunker, but she has not attracted much in the way of national support. Expect a Tiffany victory in a vote plateau that should exceed 53 percent.
With Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) in no danger from a primary challenge today, the most hotly contested race is Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary.
Three candidates including 2018 nominee Kara Eastman, who scored 49% of the vote against two-term Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillon/Omaha) and returns for a re-match, are battling for the party nod. The other two contenders are Ann Ashford, wife of former Congressman Brad Ashford (D-Omaha), and restaurant manager Gladys Harrison. Ms. Eastman is favored to win tonight’s primary, and the 2nd District general election again promises to be a tight affair in one of the five districts throughout Nebraska and Maine that could yield an extra electoral vote to a presidential candidate.
More Governors and election officials are keeping their primary calendars intact but are changing their voting systems. As a precaution for COVID-19, a significant number of states are now implementing procedural changes from in-person voting to casting their votes by mail.
At the end of last week, political leaders in the following entities are the latest to take such action in relation to their upcoming primaries: Massachusetts (May 30 local elections), Minnesota (Aug 11 statewide primary), Nebraska (May 12), New Jersey (June 2), North Dakota (June 9), Ohio (ballots must be post-marked on or before April 27), and West Virginia (May 12).
Three more states are joining the popular trend of keeping their primary dates intact but changing to an all-mail system. The Alaska state Senate unanimously voted to stay with their August 18th state primary as scheduled but will instead conduct the election through the mail. An amendment to allow non-postal receptacle ballot depositing was defeated, however. The change to a mail system in response to COVID-19 precautions is expected to be adopted.
The Indiana Election Commission has agreed to waive the requirement to produce a reason for voting an absentee ballot after it moved the state’s May 5th primary to June 2nd. For this election, any voter who wants to vote through the mail can do so.
Nebraska election officials are continuing with their May 12th election but will allow counties to send mail ballots to their residents.
Former Rep. Brad Ashford’s (D-Omaha) wife, Ann Ferlic Ashford, announced yesterday that she will enter the Democratic congressional primary in hopes of challenging two-term Republican incumbent Don Bacon (R-Papillion) next year. Ms. Ashford almost ran in 2018, but the two agreed that her husband would attempt to regain the seat he lost to Mr. Bacon, a retired Air Force General. Ashford then proceeded to lose the Democratic primary to non-profit organization executive Kara Eastman, who would then lose in a close 51-49% result to Rep. Bacon.
Ms. Ashford, however, will also face Ms. Eastman. The latter woman has already announced that she is running in 2020, hoping to force a re-match with the Congressman. Mr. Ashford, also a former state legislator, served one term in the House before he was unseated during the last presidential election.
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