2012 elections preview: Nebraska voters prepare for congressional and legislative primaries

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May 14, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues tomorrow with elections in Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon. In Nebraska, voters will decided on one U.S. Senate seat, three U.S. House races and 26 state legislative seats.

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate is anticipated to be very close, as presumed frontrunner Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning faces serious competition from state Senator Deb Fischer and state Treasurer Don Stenberg.[1]

Contested Primaries in Nebraska -- May 15, 2012
U.S. Congress
(4 seats)
State Legislature
(26 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 1 (33.33%) 10 (38.46%)*
Total Republican Contested Primaries 3 (100%) 10 (38.46%)*
* Note: Nebraska's legislature is non-partisan, so candidates do not list party affiliations.


U.S. Senate

United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2012

Nebraska has one U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in 2012. Senator Ben Nelson is retiring, leaving the Senate seat open. Six Republicans and four Democrats are in the running.

On the Democratic primary, voters will choose between Larry Marvin, Steven P. Lustgarten, Sherman Yates, and Bob Kerrey.

Republican voters will choose between Jon Bruning, Deb Fischer, Don Stenberg, Sharyn Elander, Pat Flynn, and Spencer Zimmerman. Fischer, a state senator, has received an endorsement from Sarah Palin, and many conservative PACs are supporting her over Nebraska Attorney General Bruning.[2] Meanwhile, state Treasurer Don Stenberg was endorsed by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint,[3] and national conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action has funded ads supporting him.[4]

U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Nebraska, 2012

Nebraska has 3 U.S. House seats on the ballot in 2012.

A total of 14 candidates have filed to run, made up of 4 Democratic challengers, 7 Republican challengers, and 3 incumbents. Including the three states with primaries tomorrow, a total of 106 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 58.02% of possible primaries have been contested. In Nebraska, all three incumbents face primary challenges.

Members of the U.S. House from Nebraska -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 0 0
     Republican Party 3 3
Total 3 3

State legislatures

Nebraska State Senate elections, 2012

There are 26 total legislative seats with elections in 2012. There are 10 (38.5%) contested primaries in the Nebraska State Senate, which is higher than the current national contested average of 23.42% for states that have had filing deadlines. Five of the 17 incumbents who are seeking election will face primary opposition in 2012.

Nebraska's legislature is non-partisan, meaning candidates do not declare party affiliations. The top two vote-getters in each primary will go on to the general election.[5]

There are four unchallenged incumbents in 2012. They are: Heath Mello (District 5), Kathy Campbell (District 25), Mike Gloor (District 35), and Ken Schilz (District 47).

A total of 9 incumbents, or 18.4% of the total senate seats, are ineligible to run for the senate again due to term limits. They are: Abbie Cornett (District 45), Chris Langemeier (District 23), Deb Fischer (District 43), Gwen Howard (District 9), Lavon Heidemann (District 1), LeRoy Louden (District 49), Mike Flood (District 19), Rich Pahls (District 31), and Tony Fulton (District 29).

The 38.46% of contested primaries in Nebraska is above the current national contested average of 23.42% for states that have had signature filing deadlines.

See also

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