Progressive challenger ekes out victory over former incumbent in Nebraska primary

Progressive candidate Kara Eastman has won the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s second congressional district, narrowly beating a former Democratic congressman who won the district in 2014.

Eastman won 51.4% of the vote while former Rep. Brad Ashford won just 48.6% of the vote — a difference of about 1,100 votes, according to the New York Times. Ashford was running to reclaim the seat he once held but lost in 2016 to Republican Rep. Don Bacon.

Eastman, the president of a local nonprofit, ran on a progressive policy platform that included support for a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care system. Ashford, a former Republican, ran a more moderate campaign and had the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He has come under fire for voting to restrict abortion rights in the past, an issue on which the pro-abortion-rights Eastman has taken him to task.

On May 8, Eastman told the Intercept that it was “disappointing” to see major Democratic women’s groups and pro-abortion-rights groups stay out of the race instead of endorse her candidacy.

Eastman’s victory over Ashford is one of the first major losses for the Democratic party establishment at the hands of a progressive challenger. She will face Bacon in what many believe to be a flippable Republican district in November.