Challengers eyeing 2nd District's seat

Posted at 10:30 AM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 11:30:15-04

The May 15th primary election is nowhere near, but candidates eyeing the 2nd Congressional District are counting down the days.


Two challengers will battle it out in hopes of competing against Congressman Don Bacon, which covers all of Douglas County and every city in Sarpy County except Bellevue.


Ever since former-U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford lost to challenger Bacon in 2016, the one-term congressman has made it no secret he'd like his old job back.


I’d ask voters to grade me based on the work I did from 2014 to 2016 and not by my party, he told 3 News Now Monday, just the day before his campaign kick-off at The Old Mattress Factory.


“Send me back,” Ashford says.


In an unusual game of musical chairs, it's now Ashford who's trying to unseat Bacon, who lost by 1.2 percentage points.


While district voters looked at the candidates, they made their decision but still Ashford believes they should send him back to deal with challenges, he says, constituents face.


"I think clearly it's jobs,” he says. “I think it's student debt for young people. I think it's healthcare."


But before he can even think about November 2018, he'll have to battle it out with Kara Eastman for the Democratic ticket during the primary election.


Similar to Ashford’s platform, Eastman says she’s also concerned about the environment.


Eastman is the president and CEO of Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, the organization raises awareness on environmental hazards and often tests for lead poisoning in homes.


The two Democrats squaring off is something rarely seen in the state during a primary, but together they’re taking jabs at Bacon. Eastman believes Nebraskan values aren’t reflected in Washington, D.C., while Ashford says nothing is getting done despite the same party controls the legislative and executive branches.


3 News Now reached out to the congressman for an interview, but a campaign spokesperson said Bacon is busy with events and meeting with constituents in the district.


However, campaign official Kyle Clark released the following statement:


"Congressman Bacon is looking forward to discussing the mid-term elections and his re-election campaign after he makes an official announcement. Don is focused on continuing to work hard representing the people and interests of Nebraska’s [2nd Congressional District] in Washington, D.C."