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25-year-old conservative may challenge Fortenberry in GOP primary
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25-year-old conservative may challenge Fortenberry in GOP primary

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A 25-year-old Republican who describes himself as committed to "conservative virtues and principles" said Tuesday he may challenge Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in the 2020 GOP primary election.

Nicholas Oviatt of Yutan, who earned degrees in economics at DePaul University and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said he could bring conservative Republican energy to the House similar to what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has delivered for liberal Democrats.

"We hear stories about the infamous A.O.C. nearly every day — a freshman congresswoman who, despite her sharp ideological differences with the average Nebraskan, has entered Washington politics on a wave of energy that has propelled her district's agenda into the national spotlight," Oviatt said.

Ocasio-Cortez is 29; the minimum age of eligibility for House members is 25.

"Federal deficits and the overall debt continue to balloon, even under Republican leadership," Oviatt said. "This must stop.

"As the people's representative, I would refuse to vote for any peacetime budget that does not balance — period, end of story."

And, he said, he "would work to embolden and encourage states to govern themselves instead of waiting around for D.C. to act."

Oviatt said he'd be committed to "working with both sides of the (partisan) aisle and with any president — whether it be Donald J. Trump or Elizabeth Warren.

"Margaret Thatcher was 25 years old when she first ran for a seat in Parliament and I am looking for an excuse that might prevent me from making a similar move," he said. 

"But like Maggie's feelings for her United Kingdom, I cannot stand the idea of an America in decline."

Fortenberry will be seeking his ninth term in eastern Nebraska's 1st District. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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