Nebraska Republican House members thwart challengers to hold seats

Representative Jeff Fortenberry addresses the crowd at Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer's Election Day party at the Cornhusker Hotel's Grand Ballroom in Lincoln. Photo by Michael Bamesberger | NewsNetNebraska

By Jim Tully, NewsNetNebraska

Nebraska voters voted as expected, giving House Republican incumbents a big thumb’s up.

Jeff Fortenberry, R-1st District, won his fifth term in Congress, as reported by The Associated Press.  Fortenberry defeated Korey Reiman.

Adrian Smith, R-3rd District, won with a comfortable lead over Mark Sullivan while Lee Terry, R-2nd District, was victorious in a relatively close race with challenger John Ewing.

For the latest updates on Nebraska’s congressional races, see this Secretary of State election results page.

Voting in Omaha, however, had become contentious as the day went on. Both political parties denounced what they said were attempts to disenfranchise voters in Omaha, according to AP.

Nebraska Democrats held a news conference Tuesday afternoon at a north Omaha polling place where a woman reported that she had received a ballot that had already been filled out for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent Republican Rep. Lee Terry.

Nebraska’s GOP chairman crashed the news conference to report what he described as attempts to keep Republicans from the polls.

And the campaign of Terry’s Democratic challenger, Ewing, said it had been told of a second incident in which a voter received a ballot that had already been filled out for Romney and Terry at a midtown Omaha polling place, AP reported.

Nebraska Secretary of State spokeswoman Laura Strimple told AP the incident in north Omaha happened when one of a two-page ballot stuck in the ballot holder as it was emptied into the ballot box. The precinct worker then placed a fresh ballot into the holder to be handed to the next voter. That voter discovered the marked page, Strimple said.

Strimple said she was not aware of the second incident.

Terry was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998  — the same year he won “Outstanding Young Nebraskan” — and has maintained his congressional seat as a Republican ever since.

Regarding the economy, Terry proposed to give incentives to the private sector to create jobs and decrease government spending.  Terry said the stimulus plan put forth in 2009 is crimping the economy by $1 trillion a year.  He also wants to prevent scheduled tax increases from taking effect in 2013 because he classifies them as “hidden tax increases.”

Ewing, former Douglas County Treasurer, has been a public servant for more than 30 years.  The Omaha Salem Baptist Church minister has worked as an Omaha Police Department deputy chief and was of Police and was sworn in as the first African-American elected Douglas County Treasurer in 2007.

Ewing supported letting the “Bush tax cuts” expire.  These tax cuts are for taxpayers making more than $1 million and, Ewing noted, Terry has voted for these tax cuts twice.  Ewing said  he would work with both parties to come up with fair cuts to the federal budget to eliminate inefficiency.  Regarding Medicare, Ewing also said he would not turn it into a voucher system.

Fortenberry, the incumbent for Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and has held his seat as a Republican since.

In Congress, Fortenberry has focused on national security and international relations, alternative energy and environmental sustainability, economic opportunity and rural vitality, patient -centered health care and family and culture.  Fortenberry supports small business entrepreneurship, structural budgetary reforms and more control of government spending.  He says Nebraska should be a model for America.

His challenger, Reiman, is a private practice lawyer.  Reiman wanted to create jobs that  advance energy independence through funding a light speed rail, wind and solar energy and clean coal.  He wanted a reasonable corporate tax rate that promotes job growth; he disagreed that the free market can do better without government involvement.  Regarding Medicare, Reiman thought  the financial dilemma points to Congress being controlled by special interests rather than the well-being of the country.  Reiman wanted to save Medicare from voucher systems, which were voted on in 2011.

Smith, who represents the 3rd District, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 for the 3rd District.  Like Jeff Fortenberry, Smith thinks Nebraska should be the model to save the country from it’s economic problems.  Smith encourages families and businesses to invest in Nebraska.  Smith said Congress needs to act quickly to prevent tax increases in 2013.  Smith calls these increases the largest in American history.

Sullivan is a pro-life farmer who is tired of the stalemate and stalling in Congress.  Sullivan said he would fight to preserve social security, Medicare and the family farm.  He is against Paul Ryan’s budget because he says it will privatize social security, dismantle Medicare and eliminate the farm program.  To promote jobs, Sullivan wants to improve infrastructure.  He wants to maintain and improve highways, railroads, electrical power grids and broadband service.  He says investing in infrastructure is investing in the nation’s future.


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