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Sasse wins big; Bolz challenges Fortenberry
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Sasse wins big; Bolz challenges Fortenberry

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Kate Bolz Election Night, 5.12

Kate Bolz (right) waves goodbye to online supporters at the conclusion of a Zoom video conference on May 12 as campaign finance director Nathan Janulewicz (left) and digital director Brent Comstock look on. Bolz, the Democratic nominee, will face Republican incumbent Jeff Fortenberry in November. 

Sen. Ben Sasse handily cleared his Republican primary election hurdle Tuesday night and headed to a general election match with a Democratic nominee who will face a daunting challenge in November.

Securing the Democratic nomination late Tuesday night was Chris Janicek, owner/operator of Cupcake Omaha. 

Senate Janicek Sasse

In winning the GOP nomination for a second term, Sasse broke the record for the most primary votes ever received for federal office in Nebraska. 

Meanwhile, state Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln claimed the Democratic nomination for the 1st District House seat now held by eight-term Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry


And in the primary election's featured contest, 2018 Democratic nominee Kara Eastman was running comfortably ahead of Ann Ashford, wife of former Rep. Brad Ashford, in metropolitan Omaha's 2nd District.

The 1st District contest has the potential to be more competitive than it's been in recent elections, with Americans sharply divided in a presidential election year that is likely to be volatile and filled with fury.

Bolz, a social worker and two-term state senator, has said her top priority will be "responding to the impacts of coronavirus by supporting our health care providers and workers and developing a comprehensive economic growth strategy."

In working to address the coronavirus pandemic, Fortenberry has said his goal will be to protect the nation's health care system, families and small businesses.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday night after her victory was secured, Bolz said: "What we need is confidence and belief in one another, that our goodness and ingenuity will prevail, that today's challenges don't have to be tomorrow's struggles, that instead they can be a part of our story of overcoming adversity, changing for the better and continuing to build our collective American Dream."

Fortenberry issued a statement declaring that "together we're working non-stop, particularly during this crisis, to protect health care, fight COVID-19 and support Nebraska families, farmers and small businesses."

Metropolitan Omaha's 2nd District is always closely contested and there will be added attention by both parties in November as their top-of-the-ticket candidates battle in the district for one of Nebraska's five presidential electoral votes. 

Don Bacon

Rep. Don Bacon

Kara Eastman

Democratic candidate for Nebraska's 2nd House District Kara Eastman

Republican Rep. Don Bacon will be seeking a third term in November and a Bacon-Eastman contest will be a rematch of the 2018 race. 

In the overwhelmingly Republican 3rd District, Rep. Adrian Smith appears to be comfortably positioned to win an eighth term. His opponent, Democratic nominee Mark Elworth Jr., seeks to represent the western and central Nebraska district while residing in Omaha.

The vast congressional district also includes the northeastern and southeastern corners of the state.

Tuesday's Republican congressional nominees will go into November with the advantages of GOP voter registration dominance except in the 2nd District, where the edge is more marginal.

Sasse, who defeated former Lancaster County GOP Chairman Matt Innis of Crete, will face a Democratic opponent who will need to try to gain statewide recognition over the next six months, almost certainly with limited funding.  

Campbell, Bostar advance in Lincoln legislative contest

Election results

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSdon


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