A state senator has taken up the challenge and will run for Congress against incumbent Lee Terry.
Sure, there will be other opponents on the ballot other than state Sen. Brad Ashford and incumbent Congressman Lee Terry, but their names will be the ones that count this November.
Ashford, who is 64 and from Omaha, has filed as a Democrat in the Second Congressional District. Terry, a Republican, has held the seat for 15 years.
Ashford has served a couple of terms in the Unicameral. He served as the representative of District 20 for 16 years, between 1987 and 1995. He returned to the legislature in 2007 and cannot run for re-election, due to term limits. Ashford is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Ashford says the reason he’s running is simple.
“Because I’m a legislator and that’s what I do,” Ashford tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And this is an opportunity to take what I’ve learn here in the Unicameral which is unique. The lessons here need to be applied in Washington. I think we can do it. I know we can do it.”
Ashford says he would govern as a centrist.
Ashford criticizes Terry as partisan and says he should have never supported the shutdown of the federal government last year during the frequent fiscal fights in Washington. Ashford says circumstances such as the shutdown make the long-time incumbent vulnerable.
Ashford is an attorney. He has run for Congress previously. He lost his bid as a Republican in 1994. He ran unsuccessfully for Omaha mayor last year as an independent.
Omaha City Councilmember Peter Festersen, a Democrat, had announced he would challenge Terry, then dropped out of the race.
Kevin Conroy, Campaign Manager, Lee Terry for Congress, issued a statement after Ashford made his announcement.
“It’s revealing how desperate things have gotten for Democrats when the best they can find is someone who has trouble deciding what office to run for and who less than a year ago, was running as an Independent for Mayor and before that, spent 20 years as a Republican. There is no question where Congressman Terry stands and he will earn re-election by working hard everyday to advance the fight for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and reform health care in the wake of the President’s health care debacle.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:35]