Democrats scored major victories on Tuesday, fueling speculation they will take direct aim at Republican Congressman Don Bacon, who likely is most vulnerable in his first re-election bid.
“So, if the Democrats want to have an opportunity to take Congressman Bacon’s seat, their best chance to do it is going to be in 2018,” University of Nebraska – Omaha political science professor Randall Adkins tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Adkins says that traditionally a member of Congress is most vulnerable in the candidate’s first re-election campaign. Bacon himself defeated Democrat Brad Ashford in a close race when Ashford ran for re-election the first time in 2016. Ashford hopes to have a re-match in 2018, but first must win the Democratic primary over Kara Eastman.
Democrats dominated in elections Tuesday across the country.
Not only did Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam keep the Virginia governorship in Democrat hands, Democrats down ballot in Virginia have wiped out the huge majority Republicans enjoyed in the Virginia House of Delegates and, depending on possible recounts in close races, could take control of the chamber.
In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy easily won the seat Republican Gov. Chris Christie had to vacate due to term limits.
Georgia Democrats won two traditionally Republican districts in special state House elections.
Adkins says politics are charged right now with people expressing very strong feelings about issues. Nebraska remains a deeply Republican state with the party holding a huge advantage in registered voters. Yet, the election results give Democrats hope.
Adkins says it’s hard to over-estimate how thoroughly Democrats won Tuesday.
“What I see here are the possible seeds of a wave election,” Adkins says. “We know historically the president’s party does not do well in mid-term elections and 2018 is going to be President Trump’s first mid-term election. His approval rating is not very good right now.”
Adkins says for Democrats to have a chance in Nebraska, they must recruit good candidates, raise the money those candidates need to wage a competitive campaign, and settle on a message that connects with voters.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]