NE’s GOP chief on Congressman-elect Ashford: He’ll have ‘an office in a closet’


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Not sure what party switcher Brad Ashford who “runs for everything under the sun” stands for and convinced Omaha’s new minority-mired congressman will have “an office in a closet” on Capitol Hill, the head of the Nebraska Republican Party is still scratching his head over one of the rare Democratic wins on Election Day.

8-term incumbent Republican Lee Terry lost to Democrat Brad Ashford 49-46.

At the same time GOP State Chairman J.L. Spray is “confident” that come 2016 his side will reclaim the seat lost by 8-term Congressman Lee Terry.

In an interview with Nebraska Watchdog, it’s clear that Spray is still smarting from Terry’s loss.

Nebraska Watchdog: How do you explain Congressman Terry’s defeat?

J.L. Spray: How do I explain Congressman Terry’s defeat? (pause)

Nebraska Watchdog: Let me ask you this: Is regaining that seat now a priority for the Nebraska GOP?

J.L. Spray: Certainly. And the thing that I think hasn’t quite soaked in yet is we went from a congressman with seniority, chairing a subcommittee, an important committee to Nebraska—the Commerce Committee—I was proud of that…we lost that. We now have a 65-year-old, although very fit, congressman who basically restarted the clock and will probably have an office in a closet, somewhere off-site. It’s just too bad. With all due respect to soon-to-be Congressman Ashford it’s hard to figure out what exactly he stands for when he bounces around—three political parties in three years— and runs for everything under the sun from mayor to congress to legislature. I’m confident we can win.

Nebraska Watchdog: Chip Maxwell has already said he’s running in 2016. Do you think with this starting so soon it will hurt the Republican Party, people will just get tired of the constant game?

J.L. Spray: Contested primaries are good…you end up with a better, stronger result and at the state party we’re doing nothing but encouraging the people who want to run to run.

According to Spray, after two years of Ashford voters in Omaha will realize that if “we’re going to start the clock anyway we might as well start it with somebody who’s going to be there for a while and develop seniority, who’s more consistent with the views of the congressional district.”

Congressman-elect Ashford tells Nebraska Watchdog he’s looking forward to “getting things done in Washington.”

Contact Joe Jordan at

Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday morning at 7:40, KLIN in Lincoln every Tuesday morning at 7:35 and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

To subscribe to news updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no charge, click here