Progressive challenger ekes out victory over former incumbent in Nebraska primary

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Eastman defeated former Rep. Brad Ashford in Tuesday's primary election with a campaign that cast her as a champion of liberal ideals, including supporting a single-payer health care system.

That's a major disappointment for national Democrats, who had banked on him making a comeback run this election.

But while Ashford basically started his general election campaign early, running ads touting his accomplishments bringing a VA medical center back to the district, Eastman ran hard to Ashford's left on a number of issues. Gabel previously volunteered for the Nebraska Green Party and the Legal Cannabis Now Party.

Eastman's supporters framed her victory as proof of the argument that Democratic primary voters want a candidate that adheres to their values over one that may compromise for electability.

The 2nd District was the only truly competitive congressional seat in deep-red Nebraska, and this year the race for the Democratic nomination featured two well-funded candidates.

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The others seeking the GOP nomination are retired Omaha math professor Jack Heidel; writer and retired air conditioning technician Dennis Frank Macek; former finance manager Jeffrey Lynn Stein; and Lincoln businessman Todd Watson.

She'll face Senator Fischer in the General Election.

Voters will also consider candidates in primary races for U.S. Senate, governor, state treasurer and legislative and congressional races.

Fetterman had made a failed bid in 2016 for the U.S. Senate. Deb Fischer sought second terms.

Democrats were excited that Ashford, a moderate Republican-turned-Democrat who lost by just one point last fall, would give Bacon a tough challenge.

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That includes races from the local level all the way up through state and federal.

Nine Republicans and four Democrats are on the ballot.

Four Democrats are competing for their party's nomination.

The polls are open until 8pm.

KTIV will have complete coverage as results come in with reporters in Dakota County, Madison County, Omaha and Papillion.

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