University of Nebraska – Omaha Political Science Professor Randall Adkins notes Democrats have picked up registrations in Omaha and Lincoln, while Republicans maintain their grip on rural Nebraska.
“It just is really a lot more challenging in this state for Democrats to find those voters out in the rural areas and that’s something that’s happening in states all across the country,” Adkins tells Nebraska Radio Network. “There is a rural/urban divide that exists between the Republican and the Democratic Parties.”
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts is running re-election against veteran state Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, who contends Ricketts has shown poor leadership, especially in reducing crowding and violence in the state prison system. Ricketts touts improvements in how the state runs its programs as well as the economic growth of the state.
U.S. Sen. Deb Ricketts is six years removed from her upset victory in the Republican primary that ushered her into the Senate. She is being challenged by Lincoln City Councilmember and grocer Jane Raybould, who charges that Fischer has lost touch with Nebraskans during her tenure in Washington, D.C. Fischer denies the charge and asserts she has been a strong voice for Nebraska in the Senate.
Nebraska voters are being asked to approved expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, something the Unicameral has resisted since the ACA became law. The issue appears as Initiative 427 on the ballot.
Adkins doesn’t see President Trump playing much of a roll here. The president has been crisscrossing the country in support of Republican candidates, but Adkins says Nebraska Republicans have been content to run their own campaigns.
Veterans Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican, is being challenged by chemist/attorney Jessica McClure of Lincoln who decided to get in the First Congressional District race after becoming update that Fortenberry voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Fortenberry says the country is moving forward under Republican leadership, especially with the economy and military readiness.
Another veteran Congressman, Adrian Smith, is running for re-election on the Third Congressional District. He is being challenged by former Wayne State Dean of Education and Counseling, Paul Theobald, a Democrat.
The closest race might well be freshman Republican Don Bacon’s re-election being challenged by Democrat Kara Eastman in greater Omaha.
“So, it becomes really important in these mid-term elections is to turn out your base or core supporters and whoever is going to be the best turning out their base or core supporters in Congressional district two is probably going to be the candidate that wins,” according to Adkins.
Adkins expects it to be close and says it might well turn on who knocked on a few hundred more doors in the greater Omaha area.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]