Terry, Ashford Congressional race heats up

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August 29th, 2014

Omaha, NE – In the midterm elections, voter turnout is historically lower than in presidential elections.

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Voter turn-out is expected to be on the top of priorities lists of both major political parties come November. In Nebraska’s race for its 2nd Congressional seat, between Rep. Lee Terry and challenger State Sen. Brad Ashford, it is expected to be no different. From all accounts and from both sides the polling is even in the race between Ashford and Terry, according to Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan.

“Turn-out is going to be really critical in terms of amassing your voters to get to the polls on the Election Day in that race,” Jordan said.

The race between Ashford and Terry, according to Jordan, took a turn in favor of Terry, when Chip Maxwell decided against running as a third party candidate on July 30. Jordan said the general belief was that Maxwell was going to ‘bleed’ votes from Terry and in the turn be beneficial to Ashford.

Once an independent, Brad Ashford is now running for Congress as a democrat. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

Once an independent, Brad Ashford is now running for Congress as a democrat. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

“When that happened, the Terry Campaign I think it’s fair to say, took a deep breath and a bit of a sigh of relief,” Jordan said.

Jordan said a big chunk of the potential voters that would have voted for Maxwell, will now go to Terry.

Jordan also said polls show a low approval rating for Congress. He said this could lead to disgruntled voters coming out in force to show their frustration. He brought up Eric Cantor as an example of this.
Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader and second ranked republican on Capitol Hill, was voted out in a primary in June. Cantor, who represented Virginia’s 7th district, stepped down as Majority Leader August 1 and announced his resignation from the House August 18.

“Americans have taken the view, ‘Congress is a mess, but my congressmen, I like,’” Jordan said. “Well there have been some polls that indicate that maybe this is the year, that all changes. That maybe we ‘throw all the bums out.’”

Rep. Terry made a comment in October about paying for his ‘nice house and kid in college’ when referring to giving his paycheck up due to the government shutdown. Rep. Terry has since apologized and said in a recent interview with Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan that there were several causes for the comments.

“It was a bad time, a bad atmosphere, and it is one of the few moments in life that I wish I could do over again,” Rep. Terry said.

But looking ahead to this election Terry is confident voters will overlook his mistake and concentrate on his record.

Lee Terry looks to be re-elected for a 7th consecutive term, come November. (Photo Courtesy Robyn Murray)

Lee Terry looks to be re-elected for a 7th consecutive term, come November. (Photo Courtesy Robyn Murray)

“I hope not, I hope they will focus on the things I’ve been able to accomplish,” Rep. Terry said.

Brad Ashford, Nebraska State Senator representing district 20, threw his name into the ring for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional seat in February. Sen. Ashford has served on the Nebraska Unicameral for 16 years. He departs in December of this year as chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, due to term limits. Sen. Ashford ran in a failed bid to be Omaha’s mayor in 2013, as an independent.

Sen. Ashford said his experience in the Nebraska Unicameral, will be his most beneficial element if he is elected. Party lines blur in the Nebraska’s single house Legislature, according to Sen. Ashford, he said this has helped him focus on the issues and will help him if he is elected.

“It isn’t based so much on what one’s position is, but what the solution might be,” Sen. Ashford said. “So moving from political posturing and political polarization and move towards solutions.”
Two years ago Rep. Terry faced his toughest challenge to date, beating Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing by 4,000 votes. Jordan said this talk of unseating Terry is normal for this time in the campaigns.

“Every two years, reporters, prognosticators and politicians are writing Lee Terry’s Capitol Hill obituary,” Jordan said. ‘This is the year he loses’, whether it’s a close race, or a blowout race, he has survived time and time again.”

But Jordan did add this may prove to be Terry’s toughest challenge when all is said and done. He also added he thinks there is one more ball yet to drop: Outside money.

“Once the national democratic party and the national republican party finally key into this race,” Jordan said. “It’s my guess that’s when the race is going to turn negative.”

Jordan said November 4 is just around the corner and lots can occur in that short time.

“Again, everybody knows this thing is far from over,” Jordan said.

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