Omaha, NE.—Try these Democrats’ names on for size in several upcoming races (they’ll be here sooner than you think): Beutler, Ashford (not Brad), Morfeld and Vargas.
Yes, with the 2018 election in the rear view mirror and very few wins Nebraska Democrats are setting their sights on key races two years from now and a bit beyond.
At the top of the state ticket for 2020 is the U.S. Senate race which for now begins with a major question.
Will Republican Senator Ben Sasse run for reelection?
Whether he does or doesn’t speculation is already surfacing that Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler could, emphasize could, jump in on the Democratic side.
When voters term limited him on Election Day and kept him from seeking a fourth term next spring, the talk of Beutler for Senate quickly surfaced. He is after all the top elected Democrat in the state.
The Omaha race for Congress will once again be the Democrats best chance of picking up one of the state’s three House seats.
And at least one possible candidate to take on soon-to-be 2-term Republican Congressman Don Bacon is an Ashford but not former Congressman Brad Ashford—this time it would be his wife, Ann.
Unlike just defeated Democrat Kara Eastman who ran from the left making no effort to seek out 2nd District Republican voters, Ann Ashford— much like her husband— would likely campaign from the center as a moderate Democrat hoping to pick up moderate Republican votes.
Then there’s the Democrats next run at long-term 1st District Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
Despite another easy win this year, a 22 point landslide, Fortenberry remains a much talked about Democratic target largely because of the heavily Democratic vote in Lincoln, the district’s largest city.
One name quickly popping up from Democrats is State Senator Adam Morfield of Lincoln. Morfeld is fresh off his role in helping lead the successful push for Medicaid expansion.
Beutler, Ann Ashford and Morfeld would arguably enter their races with potentially good to strong fund raising operations.
And finally, whether or not Republican Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert runs for a third term in 2021, keep the name Tony Vargas in mind on the Democratic side.
Vargas, a State Senator from South Omaha, is the only Hispanic in the Nebraska Legislature and has talked openly on the need for more diversity among elected officials in Nebraska.