When the dust settled after Tuesday’s Nebraska primaries, voters and political experts were finally able to catch their breath and reflect on what the results could possibly mean down the road.
The biggest takeaway from election night was the popularity of the female candidate. In a year in which women around the nation have increasingly found their voices and used this empowerment for lasting change, it should not surprise anyone that this movement would translate to big gains in the political arena for female candidates. Leading the pack in Nebraska is non-profit executive Kara Eastman who scored a surprise upset win over former Rep. Brad Ashford in the 2nd District Democratic race.
Eastman campaigned on a platform of increased healthcare coverage, with her “Medicare for All” message resonating with left-leaning voters. Whether she will able to capture the more moderate voters as she faces Republican incumbent Don Bacon is the question heading into the November 2018 election. Many political analyts believe that Eastman will need to moderate her message if she wants a chance at taking down Bacon.
To be successful, Eastman will need to tap into the coffers of the national Democratic party. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had planned on contributing heavily to a possible Ashford vs. Bacon race, but they might scale back the financial support if it does not look like Eastman has a legitimate chance to win the race. The hotly contested 2nd District had been a toss-up heading into Tuesday’s primary, but Ashford’s surprising loss nudged the district back to a “Republican-lean” status, according to a report by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
In other female candidate gains, the 1st District saw Jessica McClure beat out Dennis Crawford for the Democratic nomination.