The Post-Primary Landscape:
Nebraska, Idaho & Oregon

By Jim Ellis

2018-elections-open-seatsMay 18, 2018 — In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R) are poised to score strong re-election victories. The same for Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Lincoln) and Adrian Smith (R-Gering/West-Central NE).

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Papillion/Omaha) will face non-profit executive Kara Eastman (D) after she upset former Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Omaha) in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. This 2nd District campaign will be competitive. In 2016, Rep. Bacon ousted then-Rep. Ashford, 49-48 percent.

Turning to Idaho, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who topped Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle/ Boise) in the Republican gubernatorial primary, opens as the favorite to replace three-term retiring Gov. Butch Otter (R). He will face state Rep. Paulette Jordan (D-Moscow) who upset 2014 gubernatorial nominee A.J. Balukoff in a landslide Democratic primary result.

In Rep. Labrador’s open 1st District, former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher easily won the Republican primary, thus ensuring his seat in the next Congress. In the 2nd District, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) is the prohibitive favorite for re-election.

All five Oregon congressional districts are secure for each incumbent seeking re-election. The governor’s race featuring incumbent Kate Brown (D), running for her first full term in office after succeeding resigned Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and then winning a 2016 special election, and state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend) has potential to be competitive, but the governor is the clear favorite to win in November.

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