Omaha Democrats have candidate for Congress: Ex-Republican Ashford


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

OMAHA—One year after an unsuccessful run for mayor, State Sen. Brad Ashford is running again—this time for Congress, a job he ran for and lost 20 years ago.

Brad Ashford

Ashford, who tells Nebraska Watchdog he expects to file and make his bid official on Thursday, will run as a Democrat looking to unseat 8-term GOP Rep. Lee Terry.

At the same time Ashford says he will not hesitate to break ranks from the Democratic Party pointing first and foremost to Obamacare.

“I wouldn’t have voted for it,” says the 20-year lawmaker who is term limited at the end of 2014. But Ashford says health care reform is needed and he’d work to fix President Obama’s signature plan without raising taxes.

Ashford was first elected to the state legislature as a Democrat in 1986, switched to the GOP in 1988 before becoming an independent in 2011. After finishing 4th in a five way race for mayor, he rejoined the Democrats.

“I want to legislate from the center…and the Democrats are more centrist than the GOP,” Ashford tells Nebraska Watchdog.

Ashford, an avid runner, says he looks forward to “jogging with Republicans” on Capitol Hill in order to get things done.

So far Ashford is the only Democrat running. City Council President Pete Festersen was in-out-and-in before getting out, apparently for good, late last year.

Although Terry is being challenged in the GOP primary by Dan Frei, Ashford expects Terry to survive setting up what Ashford calls a “winnable” race this fall.

But he also knows it won’t be easy—in non-presidential years Terry fares better.

In 2012 and 2008 with President Obama on the ballot, Terry never won by more than four points: 51-49 in 2012, 52-48 in 2008.

In 2010 and 2006, non-presidential years when Omaha Democrats tend to shy away from the polls, Terry won easily: 61-39 in 2010, 55-45 in 2006.

There had been speculation that Ashford would run for Attorney General but he tells Nebraska Watchdog “I’m a legislator, it’s what I do.”

Running for Congress in 1994, Ashford lost the Republican primary to Jon Christensen.

Contact Joe Jordan at and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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

The post Omaha Democrats have candidate for Congress: Ex-Republican Ashford appeared first on