Nebraska is holding its presidential and congressional primaries on May 12. Kara Eastman won the competitive Democratic primary in Nebraska's second congressional district beating Ann Ashford and Gladys Harrison. Nebraska's second district, which includes the city of Omaha and surrounding suburbs, is a top target for Democrats to win both in the House of Representatives and in the electoral college this November.
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The stakes: Sen. Ben Sasse and all three of Nebraska's Republican congressmen are expected to easily be re-nominated. But on the Democratic side, there's a competitive primary in Nebraska's second congressional district. Kara Eastman won the Democratic primary in Nebraska's second district, which includes the city of Omaha and some of the surrounding suburbs, and is a top target for Democrats to win both in the House of Representatives and in the electoral college this November. Nebraska allocates their five electoral college votes proportionally, with two allocated based on the statewide vote and the other three based on the results in each of the state's three congressional districts, meaning the second district is worth one vote on its own. Nebraska's second went for former President Barack Obama in 2008, but then swung to Mitt Romney in 2012 and President Donald Trump in 2016. But as America's suburbs continue trending blue, Democrats hope this year to defeat Republican incumbent Rep. Don Bacon. The two major candidates competing for the nomination were Eastman, 2018 Democratic nominee, who lost to Bacon by just two percentage points in 2018, and Ann Ashford, an attorney, healthcare advocate, and wife of former Rep. Brad Ashford, who represented the district from 2015 to 2017. While Eastman is a progressive who embraces flagship policies like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, she's moderated her campaign message somewhat since her 2018 run. Still, Ashford has attacked Eastman as being too far to the left, arguing that her 2018 loss against Bacon proves her positions make her unelectable in the district. "We have destroyers and we have builders. I'm a builder and so we have to recognize the issues that we have in place and address the problems," Ashford told CBS affiliate KMTV-3 of how she sees the differences between her and Eastman. Eastman had over twice as much cash on hand as Ashford, according to the most recent campaign finance filings, and has picked up endorsements from the US Congressional Progressive Caucus, the National Organization for Women, and the Sierra Club, among other prominent groups. On Monday, prominent Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent out a blast to her campaign's email list fundraising for Eastman. "Establishment forces have been aligned against Kara since the beginning," the email said. "In 2018, Kara came within just 2 points of defeating the incumbent Republican...but the Democratic Party still tried to recruit a different challenger. Instead of uniting behind her, they tried to find someone with fewer progressive policy planks to run instead," it added, in a thinly-veiled reference to Ashford. Nebraska is still offering in-person voting, but sent out absentee ballot request forms to all voters and saw a record number of voters casting absentee ballots due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As of Monday, the Secretary of State's office said that 354,000 Nebraskans voted by mail for the primary compared to around 200,000 who voted absentee in the 2016 presidential election in the state. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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