Profile: Senate Candidate Frank Svoboda

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May 3, 2018 - 1:00pm

A Lincoln U.S. Senate candidate’s political career covers a lot of distance and time. Mike Tobias profiles Democratic Frank Svoboda as we continue NET News Campaign Connection 2018 coverage of Nebraska’s crowded Senate race.

At 93, Frank Svoboda is very likely the oldest candidate ever for statewide office in Nebraska. He’s run in two time zones, two political parties and at least five different decades. This year the political veteran is one of four Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Frank Svoboda (Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)


Other Resources

Svoboda for Senate web site


Other Senate Race Profiles

Chris Janicek (D)

Larry Marvin (D)

Jane Raybould (D)

Deb Fischer (R)

Jack Heidel (R)

Dennis Macek (R)

Jeffrey Stein (R)

Todd Watson (R)

(Note: Since Libertarian candidate Jim Schultz is uncontested we are not including him in our primary profiles, but plan to include him in our general election coverage.)


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GOP officials in Nebraska's two largest counties excluding some candidates in voter information (April 17, 2018)


Other Senate Candidate Web Sites



Libertarian (not contested in primary)


Campaign Connection 2018 is the home for NET News coverage of the 2018 elections.

“I looked at the opposition and it looked like an ideal time for me,” Svoboda said.

Svoboda’s political career began in 1962 when he was elected Keith County Attorney, winning re-election once then losing in 1970. Over the years he’s also won election to a Natural Resources District, and lost bids for legislature and University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Svoboda was born and raised in Lincoln, where he now resides. He enlisted in the army and served in the Philippines toward the end of World War II. When he returned, the GI Bill helped pay for his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then a law degree from Creighton. He moved west to Sidney, then Ogallala to farm and practice law, eventually serving as county attorney and a judge.

“I think that's very important when you seek political office, you understand the way legal things work,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I think a legal education is the best education you can get, even if you don't use it.”

Svoboda said he was a registered Democrat after law school and when he ran for state senator. Later he was a Republican National Convention delegate and ran for regent as a Republican in 2004 and 2010. He said he felt ignored, though, by the Republican party and more comfortable as a Democrat. “Maybe it's an old idea, but I don't think the Republicans really did reach the regular working class people. The Democrats have always done that, ever since the time of Roosevelt.”

Svoboda quickly talks about agriculture when asked about issues that led him to run for Senate.

“The free market doesn't work very well for these grains. We need some help there. We could have just a little help and some kind of price supports for our farmers. They need it and it probably wouldn't cost the tax payers hardly anything if we kind of slow down these foreign imports of grain,” Svoboda said, adding that possible tariffs would “cause lots of problems for us in the business we’re in.”

In a news release, Svoboda said “his number one priority is to fight back against Trump’s anti-agricultural tariff policies” and not allowing “Nebraska ag producers to be used as cannon fodder.”

On national security, Svoboda said we should “learn from Pearl Harbor” and “we should attack first” if there’s positive information that an enemy will attack.

He also advocates for emergency food supplies in case the U.S. is attacked. “We're going to have to have some non-perishable food stored around these cities so the people can survive. Food and water. I think that's what we should do. Of course, after the threats over with, we can distribute the food around. That wouldn't be a bad problem at all.”

Svoboda said there should be legislation that prevents sales of rapid fire weapons. “I certainly don't want to see private ownership of that. I think pistols and shotguns are fine for people that should have private ownership of, and I think people should have a pistol in the house.”

Svoboda said “this country was formed on immigration,” and that he’s “not excited by that big wall.” On the DACA program, he said “I think they should have an opportunity to become citizens. We need bright people.”

He said federal spending “has got out of line” and that more taxes “is not what we need.” When asked what needs to be done to reduce the federal deficit, he answered “I don't see how we can reduce it. We just hope that the country is going to be continually employed and we hope it will not deflate our dollar. Maybe we shouldn't be living on hope, but if somebody can come along and tell us how to do it, that'd be fine. We definitely need to slow down any new ideas as government.”

Svoboda said he is pro-life at “all stages of life, young and old”; is against legalization of marijuana; and calls for getting rid of interest on government student loans.

He’s been a Republican, is now a Democrat and said being bi-partisan is important. “To get something done, both sides must agree, or at least partially agree. Somebody may have to give someplace. We have to give on these things because if we don't, we're not going to get anything done.”

Thanks to contributions and loans he’s made to his campaign, Svoboda has nearly $50,000 in cash on hand, according to a recent Federal Election Commission filing. He has web and social media presence and plans to run campaign ads. “I've done a lot of things. I'm fairly well-known in this state. My name and nationality is well-known in the state,” Svoboda said. “That's my main asset I have.”

If elected at 93, Svoboda would not be the oldest ever U.S. Senator; Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was 100 when he stepped down.



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