Rarely do you see a former congressman lose a primary when backed by the Democratic establishment, but that’s just what happened last night in Omaha, as Kara Eastman pulled off the stunning upset. Eastman is a political newcomer and unabashed liberal (supports single-payer/Medicare for all, a woman’s right to choose, sensible gun control, stronger environmental laws, and so on down the list), while her opponent was viewed as a centrist who vowed to work with Republicans ‘to get things done.’
A first-time female candidate edged out the party favorite in a Nebraska House primary, dealing the Democratic establishment one of its first major blows this cycle.
Kara Eastman, a progressive community organizer, defeated primary competitor Brad Ashford Tuesday night in a barnburner, clinching a narrow 51.4 percent of the vote in Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district. Nebraska currently has no women serving in the House and has only ever sent one female representative to the House, period.
When Eastman announced her campaign last year, she traveled to Washington D.C. to speak to members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to try to garner support for her candidacy. At the time, she was the only candidate who had filed to run on the Democratic ticket in the district. She said the DCCC told her that, should there be a contested primary, they’d likely stay out of it. Eastman said the staffers checked in with her about once every couple of weeks until, eventually, the communication dropped off in December.
A month later, the DCCC named Brad Ashford—a former congressman who lost his 2016 race to Don Bacon, the current Republican incumbent—to its Red to Blue program.
If you want to change Congress, you need to change your Congressman.
In November, that’s just what the good people of Nebraska’s second district are likely to do. Go get ’em, Kara.