The newest member of the Nebraska Congressional delegation says hard work and good volunteers helped him win the election.
Congressman-elect Don Bacon, a Republican, defeated incumbent Democrat Brad Ashford. A political newcomer, Bacon says the rigors of the campaign didn’t surprise him much.
“I would say that maybe some of the dirty advertising was a little bit of a surprise, but yet I knew that was going to happen,” Bacon says with a chuckle during an interview with Nebraska Radio Network. “I think maybe that was the area that you never knew what new ad would come out next.”
Ashford, running in his first re-election campaign, outspent Bacon. Bacon, though, says his ground game, volunteers going door-to-door throughout the Second Congressional District in Omaha, made the difference. Bacon gives special credit to 150 youth, both from high school and college, who joined the campaign as volunteers.
Bacon also suggests the three debates between the two candidates made a difference. He says internal public opinion polling indicated he was running behind Ashford by as much as 5% prior to the debates and pushed to a 2-3% lead after the debates.
Health care emerged as an issue late in the campaign. Bacon, who opposes the Affordable Care Act, says his campaign got a boost when residents of the district received notice that their health insurance premiums would rise dramatically.
Bacon, the former commander of Offutt Air Force Base, says the attention Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid to the Second Congressional District as she competing for the Elector College vote there made for a tougher race.
“In the end, we had some down-ballot Republicans lose very close races and I would imagine that that probably did have an impact there,” according to Bacon. “We were fortunate enough to still win by two percent. I think it did have an impact.”
The Nebraska Secretary of State’s office reports Bacon won 141,066 votes, or 48.93% of the vote. Ashford won 137,602 votes, or 47.73%. Bacon’s margin of victory was 3,464 votes.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]