Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2014

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2012

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Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 13, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Brad Ashford Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Lee Terry Republican Party
Lee Terry.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Lean R[1]

FairVote's Monopoly Politics: Lean R[2]
Sabato's Crystal Ball: Lean R[3]


Nebraska U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3

2014 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Nebraska.png
SimmeringRace.jpg
The 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014. Brad Ashford (D) defeated incumbent Lee Terry (R) and Steven Laird (L) in the general election.

Ashford's defeat of Rep. Terry came as a surprise to many voters and political experts alike. In this election, Ashford became the first Democrat to win a U.S. House seat in Nebraska since Peter Hoagland was elected in 1992.[4] Heading into the election, all of Nebraska's U.S. House and Senate seats were held by Republicans. Terry, who was first elected in 1998, served 16 years in the House. Even more remarkably, he was defeated in a year when other Republicans had enormous success, in what many called a "GOP wave."[5]

In addition, Terry had a large financial advantage in campaign contributions. According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Terry raised over three times as much money as Ashford during the 2014 election cycle. Terry raised a total of $2,796,792.27, while Ashford raised only $894,524.41.[6]

Nonetheless, Terry's approval had been dwindling, and Terry won re-election in 2012 by a mere 1.6 percent margin of victory over his Democratic challenger, John Ewing. Leading up to the 2014 general election, most publications, including The Cook Political Report, FairVote's Monopoly Politics and Sabato's Crystal Ball, rated the race as "Lean R" rather than "Safe R."[7][8][9] Ballotpedia labeled Nebraska's 2nd District as a "simmering race" due to Terry's vulnerability.

Political experts proposed various explanations as to the cause of Terry's loss. Some attributed the upset to Terry's comments during the 2013 government shutdown, which inspired attack ads from Democrats and diminished Terry's approval ratings.[10] During the shutdown, Terry continued to accept his paycheck when the majority of congressmen chose to decline their pay or donate it to charity. He commented, "I've got a nice house and a kid in college, and I'll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly."[11] Terry later apologized, stating, "I made a mistake; it wasn’t me. That’s not who I am because everything I’ve ever done in my life has been to help people."[12]

Jane Kleeb, the director of Bold Nebraska, said that Terry's support for the Keystone XL pipeline contributed to his loss. She stated, "Pipeline fighters just gave Lee Terry the boot. Terry stood as the top cheerleader in Congress for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline instead of standing with Nebraskans who care about their land and water, and citizens stood up and voted him out of office."[13] Other proposed factors included Terry's highly negative ad campaign against Ashford and Ashford's help from minimum wage supporters, who ran a "get-out-the-vote" campaign in Omaha.[13]

Ashford also had a slight advantage in outside spending. Outside groups spent $138,114 supporting Ashford and $110,720 supporting Terry, while they spent $1,003,245 opposing Ashford and $1,294,073 opposing Terry.[14]

In the primary election on May 13, 2014, Terry defeated Dan Frei (R), Ashford defeated Mark Aupperle (D) and Laird defeated Andy Shambaugh (L).

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 3, 2014
May 13, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Nebraska is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. A blanket primary system is used for the nonpartisan legislature and some other statewide races while congressional primary elections are closed.[15]

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by either April 25, 2014, by mail or carrier, or by May 2, 2014, in person. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 17, 2014.[16]

See also: Nebraska elections, 2014

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Lee Terry (R), who was first elected in 1998.

Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District is located in the eastern portion of the state and includes Douglas county and part of Sarpy county.[17]

Candidates

General election candidates


May 13, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Primary

Withdrew from race

Declined to run


Election results

General election

U.S. House, Nebraska District 2 General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Ashford 49% 83,872
     Republican Lee Terry Incumbent 45.7% 78,157
     Libertarian Steven Laird 5.3% 9,021
Total Votes 171,050
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State

Primary election

U.S. House, Nebraska District 2 Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngLee Terry Incumbent 52.9% 25,812
Dan Frei 47.1% 22,970
Total Votes 48,782
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State
U.S. House, Nebraska District 2 Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBrad Ashford 81.4% 16,989
Mark Aupperle 18.6% 3,872
Total Votes 20,861
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State
U.S. House, Nebraska District 2 Libertarian Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSteven Laird 59.2% 77
Andy Shambaugh 40.8% 53
Total Votes 130
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State

Polls

General election polls

General election candidates
Poll Lee Terry Brad AshfordSteven LairdUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
DFM Research (October 21-25, 2014)
41%46%6%7%+/-5.1365
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (August 14, 2014)
46%45%0%9%+/-4.7432
Global Strategy Group (May 29 and June 1, 2014)
41%41%4%0%+/-4.9400
AVERAGES 42.67% 44% 3.33% 5.33% +/-4.9 399
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

*Note: A response of "0%" has been entered for options that were not measured in a given poll. This may throw off averages in those columns.

Republican primary polls

Lee Terry vs. Dan Frei
Poll Lee Terry Dan FreiUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
JMC Analytics and Polling (April 7-8, 2014)
40%26%34%+/-4%[24]599
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

*Note: This poll was commissioned by Dan Frei, and was an automated phone poll, which may be less reliable than live polls.

Race background

2012 election

The 2012 election in Nebraska's second district was a close race, with incumbent Lee Terry securing re-election by a 1.6 percent margin of victory. The district was evaluated as leaning Republican, receiving a Partisan Voter Index (PVI) rating of R+6 from The Cook Political Report.[25] Terry was hindered by a favorability rating of only 37 percent and a voter job approval of 49 percent, as well as the support his opponent John Ewing received from the House Majority PAC, which spent $30,000 on television ads in his favor.[26] Lee Terry was able to outspend his opponent, spending approximately three times the amount of money Ewing spent.[27]

Splitting the Republican vote

Although he ran as an independent candidate in the general election, Chip Maxwell was known to be a tea-party Republican, and he claimed that he would reunite with the Republican Party if elected to Congress. This decision led Republicans to fear that Maxwell would split the vote, paving Democrat Brad Ashford's road to success. Maxwell responded to this concern by stating, "If Ashford wins, it will be due to the-party-is-our-private-club Republicans who refuse to face the reality that it’s time to quit supporting an incumbent who is not the kind of Republican we need in the battle to get the country back on track."[28] Dan Frei, who lost to Lee Terry in the Republican primary, refused to endorse Terry, stating that he would endorse a different conservative. This comment led to speculations that Frei and Maxwell had been working together, although Maxwell emphasized that Frei had no idea that he would be running.[29]

On July 24, 2014, Maxwell withdrew from the race in order to ensure that he did not split the vote with Rep. Terry, as he did not want to increase Ashford's chances of taking the Republican seat.[30]

Congressional salary cuts

On August 11, 2014, Brad Ashford (D) and incumbent Lee Terry (R) discussed the possibility of instituting pay cuts for congressmen. Ashford stated, "I'm proposing we do cut our salary by 10 percent."[31] In addition, Ashford promised that, if elected, he would give 10 percent of his pay back even if cuts were not passed. Terry disagreed with Ashford and maintained that congressmen were not being overpaid, saying, "What he's not telling you is that Congress hasn't had a cost of living increase since 2008, when I led the charge for a freeze." Terry added that he donated at least 10 percent of his paycheck to charity already.[31]

Key votes

Government affairs

HR 676

See also: Boehner's lawsuit against the Obama administration

Yea3.png On July 30, 2014, the U.S. House approved a resolution 225 to 201 to sue President Barack Obama for exceeding his constitutional authority. Five Republicans--Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Paul Broun of Georgia, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Steve Stockman of Texas-- voted with Democrats against the lawsuit.[32] Terry joined the other 224 Republicans in favor of the lawsuit. All Democrats voted against the resolution.[33][34]

Campaign contributions

Lee Terry

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Terry's reports.[35]

Lee Terry (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[36]April 14, 2013$20,987.65$207,733.42$(50,260.37)$178,460.70
July Quarterly[37]July 15, 2013$178,460.70$247,099$(54,599.35)$370,960.35
October Quarterly[38]October 14, 2013$370,960.35$388,963.74$(201,416.32)$558,507.77
Year-End Quarterly[39]December 31, 2013$558,507.77$343,005.39$(83,202.540)$818,310.62
April Quarterly[40]April 15, 2014$818,310.62$197,423.32$(253,283.75)$762,450.19
Pre-Primary[41]May 1, 2014$762,450.19$95,805$(254,369.99)$603,885.20
July Quarterly[42]October 15, 2014$603,885.20$349,935.17$(272,539.47)$681,280.90
October Quarterly[43]October 23, 2014$681,280.9$755,212.23$(1,026,321.56)$410,171.57
Pre-General[44]October 23, 2014$410,171.57$211,615.00$(405,276.91)$216,509.66
Running totals
$2,796,792.27$(2,601,270.26)

Brad Ashford

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Ashford's reports.[45]

Brad Ashford (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[46]April 14, 2014$0.00$89,405.31$(15,557.45)$73,847.86
Pre-Primary[47]May 1, 2014$73,847.86$33,591.83$(26,904.95)$80,534.74
July Quarterly[48]July 15, 2014$80,534.74$195,829.92$(90,216.36)$186,148.30
October Quarterly[49]October 15, 2014$186,148.30$434,050.52$(493,098.73)$127,100.09
Pre-General[50]October 23, 2014$127,100.09$141,646.83$(212,166.08)$56,580.84
Running totals
$894,524.41$(837,943.57)

Dan Frei

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Frei's reports.[51]

Dan Frei (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[52]January 27, 2014$0.00$12,710.00$(6,475.72)$6,234.28
April Quarterly[53]April 15, 2014$6,234.00$26,900.50$(14,332.90)$18,801.60
Running totals
$39,610.5$(20,808.62)

Media

Lee Terry

In a campaign ad released in May 2014, Terry emphasized his efforts to repeal Obamacare.[54]


Lee Terry 2014 campaign ad

Brad Ashford

  • Both the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and Terry released ads in October 2014 attacking Ashford for supporting the "Good Time Law," which they said helped to release violent criminals, such as convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins, early.[55][56] On October 29, Jenkins had a hearing to determine his mental competency, at which he yelled out, "Hey you guys, vote for Lee Terry! Best Republican ever!"[57] Terry's campaign manager responded,"We're not going to comment on the ranting of a serial killer who never should have gotten out of prison in the first place. This man does not deserve one more second of publicity, which is why we refused to use his name or face in any of the ads our campaign produced."[57]

NRCC ad criticizing Ashford for helping release Nikko Jenkins early

Lee Terry ad critizing Ashford for supporting the "Good Time Law"

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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2012

See also: Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2012

The 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012. Incumbent Lee Terry won re-election in the district.[58]

U.S. House, Nebraska District 2 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic John Ewing 49.2% 129,767
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngLee Terry Incumbent 50.8% 133,964
Total Votes 263,731
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

2010

On November 2, 2010, Lee Terry won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Tom White (D) in the general election.[59]

United States House, Nebraska District 2, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngLee Terry incumbent 60.8% 93,840
     Democratic Tom White 39.2% 60,486
Total Votes 154,326

See also

External links

References

  1. Cook Political Report, "2014 House Race Ratings for August 8, 2014," accessed August 25, 2014
  2. FairVote's Monopoly Politics, "2014 House Projections," accessed August 25, 2014
  3. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed August 25, 2014
  4. KETV Omaha, "Nebraska Democrats win first House seat since 1992," accessed November 20, 2014
  5. The Washington Post, "Yes, this was a GOP wave election," accessed November 20, 2014
  6. OpenSecrets, "Nebraska District 02 Race, Summary Data," accessed November 24, 2014
  7. Cook Political Report, "2014 House Race Ratings for July 26, 2014," accessed July 31, 2014
  8. FairVote's Monopoly Politics, "2014 House Projections," accessed November 19, 2014
  9. Sabato's Crystal Ball, "2014 House Races," accessed July 31, 2014
  10. The Huffington Post, "Lee Terry Loses Re-Election To Democrat Brad Ashford," accessed November 24, 2014
  11. Omaha.com, "Lee Terry says he 'cannot handle' giving up own paycheck during shutdown," accessed October 29, 2014
  12. Roll Call, "Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown," accessed October 29, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 Nebraska Watchdog, "Congressman Lee Terry concedes, defends record," accessed November 24, 2014
  14. OpenSecrets, "Nebraska District 02 Race, Outside Spending," accessed November 24, 2014
  15. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  16. Nebraska Secretary of State Website, "Voter Information Frequently Asked Questions," accessed January 3, 2014
  17. Nebraska Redistricting Map, "Map," accessed August 29, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Nebraska Secretary of State, "Statewide Candidate List for May 13, 2014 Primary Election," accessed May 11, 2014
  19. Omaha.com, "Republican Dan Frei will take on Lee Terry in District 2," accessed November 5, 2013
  20. The Green Papers, "The Green Papers: What's New? First Quarter (Jan - Mar) 2014," accessed February 20, 2014
  21. Nebraska Watchdog, "Tea party’s Maxwell turns Omaha House race upside down," accessed May 23, 2014
  22. Nebraska Watchdog, "It’s official: Tea partyer Maxwell won’t challenge GOP’s Lee Terry," accessed July 28, 2014
  23. Watchdog.org, "Festersen out of Congressional race, Democrats wonder who’s in," accessed December 9, 2013
  24. Omaha, "'Undecideds' in poll excite campaign of Lee Terry challenger Dan Frei," accessed April 10, 2014
  25. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008," accessed March 2013
  26. Omaha.com, "Ewing makes big gains against Terry in 2nd District race," accessed March 2013
  27. Open Secrets, "2012 Race: Nebraska District 02," accessed March 2013
  28. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named wd
  29. Omaha, "'I have a plan to save the country': Chip Maxwell to run against Lee Terry," accessed May 23, 2014
  30. Nebraska Watchdog, "It’s official: Tea partyer Maxwell won’t challenge GOP’s Lee Terry," accessed July 28, 2014
  31. 31.0 31.1 KMTV Action 3 News, "Ashford wants congressional pay slashed; Terry says not so fast," accessed August 13, 2014
  32. U.S. House, "House Resolution 676," accessed July 30, 2014
  33. Yahoo News, "Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead," accessed July 30, 2014
  34. Washington Post, "House clears way for lawsuit against Obama," accessed July 30, 2014
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Terry 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2013
  36. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  37. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  38. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 25, 2013
  39. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 12, 2014
  40. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed April 13, 2014
  41. FEC, "Pre-Primary," accessed October 22, 2014
  42. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed October 22, 2014
  43. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed November 20, 2014
  44. FEC, "Pre-General," accessed November 20, 2014
  45. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford Summary Report," accessed May 13, 2014
  46. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford April Quarterly," accessed May 13, 2014
  47. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford Pre-Primary," accessed November 4, 2014
  48. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford July Quarterly," accessed November 4, 2014
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford October Quarterly," accessed November 4, 2014
  50. Federal Election Commission, "Brad Ashford Pre-General," accessed November 4, 2014
  51. Federal Election Commission, "Dan Frei Summary Report," accessed April 30, 2014
  52. Federal Election Commission, "Dan Frei Year-End," accessed April 30, 2014
  53. Federal Election Commission, "Dan Frei April Quarterly," accessed April 30, 2014
  54. YouTube, "Andrea's Story: 'Obamacare is not good for my family'," accessed May 5, 2014
  55. YouTube, "Nikko," accessed October 22, 2014
  56. YouTube, "On Fire," accessed October 22, 2014
  57. 57.0 57.1 KETV, "At competency hearing, Jenkins endorses candidate for U.S. House," accessed October 31, 2014
  58. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Nebraska," accessed November 7, 2012
  59. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013