Nebraska

Podcast: Keystone Races Now Set in Keystone State
Political Theater, Episode 19

Protesters march down Independence Avenue in Washington holding signs during the Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017, the day after the President Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women were big winners in Tuesday's primaries as they are poised to change the midterm dynamics in states like Nebraska and Pennsylvania, explains Roll Call senior political reporter Bridget Bowman.

Show Notes:

Kara Eastman Denies Ex-Rep. Brad Ashford’s Comeback Bid in Nebraska
First-time candidate will face GOP Rep. Don Bacon in November

Kara Eastman won the Democratic primary in Nebraska’s 2nd District. (Courtesy Kara Eastman for Congress)

Nonprofit executive Kara Eastman scored a surprise victory over former Rep. Brad Ashford in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd District.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Eastman led Ashford, 51 percent to 49 percent, when The Associated Press called the race early Wednesday morning.  

Raybould Wins Nebraska Democratic Senate Primary to Take on Fischer
Raybould is a Lincoln City councilwoman who previously ran for Lieutenant Governor

Jane Raybould will challenge GOP Sen. Deb Fischer in Nebraska. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Lincoln City councilwoman Jane Raybould won the Democratic Senate primary in Nebraska Tuesday night. She will face GOP Sen. Deb Fischer in the fall. 

With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Raybould had 64.8 percent of the vote to 18.5 percent for Chris Janicek,  11.8 percent for Frank Svoboda and 4.9 percent for Larry Marvin, The Associated Press reported.

4 Things to Watch During Tuesday’s Primary Elections
Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon will be hosting primaries

Voters head to the polls for primary elections in four states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four states will host primary elections Tuesday, setting up matchups for several key races this fall. 

Pennsylvania, Idaho and Nebraska all have House primaries to watch. And the Keystone State’s new congressional lines will be tested for the first time. The state’s Supreme Court tossed out the old map earlier this year, deeming it an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. 

Farm Bill Gets Two Days of House Rules Committee Consideration
Work requirements for SNAP among contentious topics on tap

House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway, will continue to make his case for the GOP-drafted farm bill this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Rules Committee will devote Tuesday and Wednesday to the 2018 farm bill as members plow through a long list of amendments, raising the possibility of heated debate before it faces a floor vote later this week.

At the Tuesday afternoon session, the panel has scheduled a general discussion from House Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway of Texas and ranking member Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the five-year farm bill, which would set policy for nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and other programs. The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.

Former Rep. Brad Ashford Faces Primary in Comeback Bid
Democratic primary pits Ashford against a political newcomer

Nebraska Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford, who lost re-election in 2016 after serving one term, is seeking a comeback this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the surface, the Democratic primary in Nebraska’s 2nd District had the makings of a bitter intraparty battle, with a moderate onetime congressman facing off against a liberal, female political newcomer. 

But the contest between former Rep. Brad Ashford and nonprofit CEO Kara Eastman hasn’t gotten the same attention as some other primaries that have morphed into proxy fights for the soul of the Democratic Party.

Fiercest Fight of the Midterms May Be the One for Maps
Democrats hope to wrest back control of the redistricting process from Republicans ahead of 2020 census

Shirley Connuck, right, of Falls Church, Va., holds up a sign representing a district in Texas, as the Supreme Court hears a case on possible partisan gerrymandering by state legislatures on Oct. 3. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The congressional maps are all but set for the 2018 elections. But for those on the front lines of a simmering battle over the next decade of elections, the results are about more than who will control the next Congress.

This year’s election season could reveal just how much the current districts have entrenched an advantage for one political party over the other, whether courts will step in to stop state lawmakers from creating such partisan districts, and which party will control crucial local offices ahead of a nationwide redistricting based on the 2020 census.

All the Voter ID Laws in May Primary States, Explained
Primary season ramps up, state requirement vary to cast ballot

Voting signs are posted at the early voting polls at One Judiciary Square in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More states in recent years enacted voter ID laws requiring people to provide some form of proof that they are who they say they are before casting a ballot. Courts across the nation continue to judge, while Republicans say these laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud and Democrats argue the laws create barriers to voting and disenfranchise minority voters.

Either way, if you plan to vote this May, here’s what you need to bring:

Texas Leads States in Legal Challenge to DACA Program
Move opens a new front in fight over status of undocumented childhood immigrants

Immigration rights protesters march to the Capitol on Dec. 6, calling for a legislative fix to the DACA program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas and six other states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Tuesday seeking to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, arguing that the 2012 executive order that created it is unlawful.

The move opens a new front in the legal fight over the Obama-era program for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children. It also adds more uncertainty to the future of these so-called Dreamers. After the Senate’s fruitless attempt to legislate a path to citizenship for them, there is little chance for more congressional action anytime soon.

How Vulnerable is Deb Fischer in Nebraska?
Race still ‘Solid Republican’ at this point

The burden of proof is still on Democrats to demonstrate that a challenge to Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., is a serious takeover opportunity, Nathan L. Gonzales writes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska has been dubbed a “sleeper” Senate race and rated as competitive by some handicappers. House Democrats just came close to winning a special election in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 21 points, so how vulnerable is GOP Sen. Deb Fischer?

At a minimum, the senator faces a spirited challenge from Lincoln City Council member Jane Raybould. But the perception that Nebraska is a legitimate Democratic takeover opportunity seems to lean on the proclamation that no Republican seat is safe and limited public polling. Other evidence, including previously unreleased polling from the Fischer campaign, paints a different picture of the race.