- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Democrats have won a U.S. House seat in Nebraska for the first time in 22 years, defeating 16-year Republican incumbent Rep. Lee Terry.

Terry conceded Wednesday afternoon to challenger Brad Ashford in the Omaha-based 2nd District, the first Democrat to win a U.S. House election in the state since Peter Hoagland in 1992.

With all precincts counted, Ashford was ahead by more than 4,000 votes, and election officials said another 13,600 early ballots would not be counted until Friday. Terry congratulated Ashford Wednesday on his victory.

In a victory speech Wednesday, Ashford said he will work with representatives from both political parties when he joins the U.S. House, and pledged “to make 25 friends” in the House to help change the culture of the partisanship in the chamber.

“I understand that on the Democratic side of the aisle, there have been some losses - which means that I may have to find 50 new friends,” he joked.



With all precincts counted, Ashford was ahead by more than 4,000 votes, and election officials said another 13,600 early ballots would not be counted until Friday. Terry conceded the race Wednesday afternoon.

The Democratic win in Nebraska bucks a national trend for Republicans, who added to their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election.

Terry had been seeking his ninth term in office and had hinted hours before his concession that he was preparing a legal fight after receiving misinformation that the Douglas County Election office planned to stop counting votes Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, he expressed pride in his House tenure.

“I’ve always tried to do what is right for this country,” Terry said. “Putting people first and our country first was always my value and my goal.”

Terry campaign manager Kent Grisham said the Republican opted not to wait for the additional early ballots to be counted before conceding, because “the math just isn’t on our side.”

“He felt it was better for the soul of the district to have the election decided as soon as possible,” Grisham said.

The 2nd District has a history of offering job security to its incumbents. Hoagland, the last Democrat to hold the seat, lost in a 1994 Republican landslide. Until Tuesday, Hoagland had also been the last incumbent in the district denied re-election.

But Terry had faced increasingly difficult campaigns in recent years. In 2012, Terry won by the slimmest of margins, with Democrat John Ewing drawing more than 49 percent of the vote.

This year’s close 2nd District race led to attack ads from both sides. Democrats argued Terry was part of a dysfunctional Washington and bashed him in ads for his remarks last year that he would not give up his congressional pay during a brief government shutdown because he “has a nice house and a kid in college.”

Republican ads blamed Ashford for the release last year of inmate Nikko Jenkins, who killed four people soon after his release. As a state senator, Ashford led a legislative committee that helped approve a law - commonly known as the “good time law” - that cuts prison sentences for time served. Terry defended the ads.

The Republican ads drew a firestorm of criticism, prompting some voters to support Ashford.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide