Campaign Connection 2018 Nebraska Election Updates

November 6, 2018 - 4:19pm

Today Nebraskans will vote in a host of elections, from the races for the Senate and the governor's office to local natural resource boards. NET News will be covering the election and results throughout the night. Polls close at 8 p.m. CT.

You can also follow NET News on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/netnewsnebraska/) and Twitter (@NETNewsNebraska) for live election updates.


9:40 a.m.

More votes came in over night. 98% of precincts are now reporting.

Statewide voter turnout was just over 56%, which is a marked increase over 2014.

Senator Deb Fischer currently has 58.08% of the vote, and will serve a second term.

Governor Pete Ricketts was re-elected and currently has 59.37% of the vote, ahead of Bob Krist, who has 40.63%.

Initiative 427, or Medicaid Expansion, passed with 53.25% voting "For."

All three incumbent U.S. Representatives won reelection last night. Jeff Fortenberry of District 1 has 60.32% of the vote. Don Bacon of District 2 has 51.55% of the vote. Adrian Smith of District 3 has 76.73% of the vote.

Bob Evnen won election as Nebraska's Secretary of State with 61.02% of the vote so far.

Charlie Janssen won re-election as Auditor of Public Accounts with 57.93% of the vote.

John Murante and Doug Peterson ran unopposed and will serve as State Treasurer and State Attorney General respectively.

In the race for the Legislature, the races stand as follows:

In District 2, Robert Clements leads Susan D. Lorence with 59.94% of the vote.

In District 4, Robert Bob Hilkemann leads Shannon Coryell with 61.17% of the vote.

In District 6, Machaela Cavanauh leads Theresa Thibodeau with 50.71% of the vote.

In District 8, Megan Hunt leads Mina Davis with 64.11% of the vote.

In District 10, Wendy DeBoer leads Matt Deaver with 50.12% of the vote.

In District 12, Steve Lathrop leads Merv Riepe with 55.19% of the vote.

In District 14, John Arch leads Jeff Parris with 55.86% of the vote.

In District 16, Ben Hansen leads Chuck Hassebrook with 61.59% of the vote.

In District 18, Brett Lindstrom leads Scott Winkler with 53.91% of the vote.

In District 20, John S. McCollister leads Jackie Collett with 59.2% of the vote.

In District 22, Mike Moser leads Doug Oertwich with 64.33% of the vote.

In District 24, Mark A. Kolterman leads Stephanie Nantkes with 73.49% of the vote.

In District 26, Matt Hansen leads Bob Van Valkenburg with  73.19% of the vote.

In District 28, Patty Pansing Brooks ran unopposed.

In District 30, Myron Dorn leads Don Schuller with 53.01% of the vote.

In District 32, Tom Brandt leads Laura Ebke with 56.32% of the vote.

In District 34, Curt Friesen ran unopposed.

In District 36, Matt Williams ran unopposed.

In District 38, Dave Murman leads Marsha Fangmeyer with 64.30% of the vote.

In District 40, Tim Gragert leads Kieth F. Kube with 51.59% of the vote.

In District 42, Mike Groene leads Judy Pederson with 67.22% of the vote.

In District 44, Dan Hughes leads Stephanie L. Malcomn with 77.33% of the vote.

In District 46, Adam Morfeld ran unopposed.

In District 48, John P. Stinner ran unopposed. 

1:10 a.m. (AP)

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has won a second term in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, defeating Democratic hopeful Kara Eastman in one of the state's few competitive races.

Bacon's win on Tuesday ensures that the district encompassing Omaha and most of its suburbs will remain in Republican hands.

Bacon has described himself as a conservative supporter of President Donald Trump who is open to compromise on issues including immigration, health care and climate change.

Eastman campaigned on a progressive platform that focused on Medicare-for-all, greater gun control and tuition-free college for families making less than $125,000 a year.

Bacon was first elected to the seat in 2014 after defeating one-term Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford.

12:38 a.m. (AP)

Nebraska voters have approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 90,000 low-income residents under federal health care law.

Tuesday's vote was a victory for advocates who fought for years to extend the current program, only to have lawmakers reject their efforts six times.

Supporters say the measure will help the so-called working poor in industries that generally don't provide health insurance, such as construction and fast food.

Opponents voiced concerns about the measure's expected cost to the state, even though the federal government will cover 93 percent of the expense next year and 90 percent in subsequent years. Lawmakers will now have to find a way to cover the rest of the cost, estimated at $40 million to $69 million a year.

12:36 a.m. (AP)

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon has won a second term in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, defeating Democratic hopeful Kara Eastman in one of the state's few competitive races.

Bacon's win on Tuesday ensures that the district encompassing Omaha and most of its suburbs will remain in Republican hands.

Bacon has described himself as a conservative supporter of President Donald Trump who is open to compromise on issues including immigration, health care and climate change.

Eastman campaigned on a progressive platform that focused on Medicare-for-all, greater gun control and tuition-free college for families making less than $125,000 a year.

Bacon was first elected to the seat in 2014 after defeating one-term Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford.

12:35 a.m. (AP)

Republican Bob Evnen has been chosen as Nebraska's secretary of state.

Evnen defeated Democratic challenger Spencer Danner in Tuesday's contest to replace Republican Secretary of State John Gale, who is retiring.

Evnen, a Lincoln attorney, touted his support for requiring voters to show identification at the polls. Gale supported similar proposals, but they always stalled in the Legislature.

Evnen also highlighted his work as a co-founder of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, the group that campaigned successfully to overturn the Legislature's 2015 vote to abolish capital punishment. As secretary of state, Evnen will serve on the Nebraska Board of Pardons, which has the power to commute sentences.

Danner, of Omaha, promised to push for automatic voter registration for residents when they go to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

12:25 a.m. (AP)

Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has won an eighth term representing Nebraska's 1st Congressional District, which includes Lincoln.

Fortenberry defeated Democratic challenger Jessica McClure in Tuesday's election. The two differed on health care, immigration and the federal tax law signed by President Donald Trump last year.

McClure faced an uphill battle against Fortenberry, an incumbent in a GOP-leaning district who held about $1.9 million in campaign cash as of October. McClure raised about $57,000.

Fortenberry faced large crowds and criticism at town hall events last year over health care and the GOP's attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He argued that some parts of the law are worthwhile, such as protecting people with preexisting conditions, but opposed other parts. McClure noted that Fortenberry voted for the GOP bill that undermined the law.

12:18 a.m. CT

The Associated Press has called the Medicaid expansion vote in favor of the initiative.

12:09 a.m. CT

It looks like we won't have full results tonight. Races are still close in Legislative Districts 6, 10, and 40. 

In U.S. House District 2, the AP has not yet called the race. Incumbent Don Bacon leads with just under 52% of the vote.

With around 65% of precincts fully reporting, it looks as if Amendment 427, which would expand Medicaid, will pass. "For" currently leads "Against" with about 53% of the vote.

Several races were decided earlier in the night. Senator Deb Fischer, Governor Pete Ricketts, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, and Congressman Adrian Smith all won reelection. Bob Evnen was elected Nebraska Secretary of State. Charlie Janssen was reelected as Auditor of Public Accounts. John Murante and Doug Peterson will serve as State Treasurer and State Attorney General respectively.

In Lincoln, an amendment to set a limit of three terms on the mayors office passed with 52.9% of the vote.

We'll have further updates tomorrow on turnout and final legislative tallies when more precincts report.

11:15 p.m. CT

As of the 10:50 update from the Secretary of State's office, and with 47% of precincts fully reporting, here is how the races for the Nebraska Legislature stand.

In District 2, Robert Clements leads Susan D. Lorence with just under 58% of the vote.

In District 4, Robert Bob Hilkemann leads Shannon Coryell with just under 62% of the vote.

In District 6, Machaela Cavanauh leads Theresa Thibodeau with just under 51% of the vote.

In District 8, Megan Hunt leads Mina Davis with just over 64% of the vote.

In District 10, Matt Deaver leads Wendy DeBoer with just under 51% of the vote.

In District 12, Steve Lathrop leads Merv Riepe with just over 54% of the vote.

In District 14, John Arch leads Jeff Parris with just over 56% of the vote.

In District 16, Ben Hansen leads Chuck Hassebrook with just under 58% of the vote.

In District 18, Brett Lindstrom leads Scott Winkler with just over 53% of the vote.

In District 20, John S. McCollister leads Jackie Collett with just under 60% of the vote.

In District 22, Mike Moser leads Doug Oertwich with just under 65% of the vote.

In District 24, Mark A. Kolterman leads Stephanie Nantkes with just over 73% of the vote.

In District 26, Matt Hansen leads Bob Van Valkenburg with just over 73% of the vote.

In District 28, Patty Pansing Brooks ran unopposed.

In District 30, Myron Dorn leads Don Schuller with just under 52% of the vote.

In District 32, Tom Brandt leads Laura Ebke with just over 55% of the vote.

In District 34, Curt Friesen ran unopposed.

In District 36, Matt Williams ran unopposed.

In District 38, Dave Murman leads Marsha Fangmeyer with just under 65% of the vote.

In District 40, Kieth F. Kube leads Tim Gragert with just under 52% of the vote.

In District 42, Mike Groene leads Judy Pederson with just over 66% of the vote.

In District 44, Dan Hughes leads Stephanie L. Malcomn with just under 78% of the vote.

In District 46, Adam Morfeld ran unopposed.

In District 48, John P. Stinner ran unopposed. 

9:43 p.m. CT (AP)

With about 13% of precincts reporting, Initiative 427 to expand Medicaid maintains a healthy lead with 56% voting "For."

In Lincoln, supporters of an amendment to the city charter to put a term limit on the mayor's office currently have a narrow lead with just under 51% voting "For."

9:32 p.m. CT (AP)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has won re-election, defeating a Republican-turned-Democratic challenger who campaigned on promises to reduce partisanship at the state Capitol.

Ricketts' victory on Tuesday allows him to serve a second and final term in the GOP-dominated state. Ricketts ran on pledges to lower taxes, keep tight reins on state spending and promote Nebraska businesses domestically and abroad.

State Sen. Bob Krist, a former Republican, pitched himself as a governor who would work collaboratively with lawmakers to reduce property taxes. He also promised promote nonpartisanship in the Legislature, where he served for 10 years.

Ricketts was first elected in 2014. The former TD Ameritrade executive is the son of billionaire Joe Ricketts and a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.

9:25 p.m. CT (AP)

Republican Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska elected to a second term, defeating Democrat Jane Raybould.

Republican Rep. Adrian Smith wins 7th term in Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District.

8:30 p.m. CT

Polls closed at 8 p.m. CT and the Secretary of State's office has started to publish partial returns.

In the race for the Senate, Republican incumbent Deb Fischer leads Jane Raybould with just over 53% of the vote.

In the race for the governor's office, Republican incumbent Pete Ricketts leads Bob Krist with just over 54% of the vote.

In U.S. House races, Republican incumbents, Jeff Fortenberry (Dist. 1), Don Bacon (Dist. 2), and Adrian Smith (Dist. 3), all lead their Democratic challengers.

Initiative 427, which would expand Medicaid in Nebraska, currently has about 57% voting "For" and 43% voting "Against."

3:55 p.m. CT Omaha, NE (AP)

Voter turnout in Nebraska's largest county is slightly higher than expected so far on Election Day, particularly in Omaha's Republican-heavy western suburbs and pockets of Democratic-leaning north Omaha.

Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse says most polling places had seen between 150 and 200 voters apiece as of noon. Kruse called it, "Brisk — more than normal, but not presidential-year numbers."

Kruse says more than 80,000 voters have received early-voting ballots or voted early in person. That's more than double the number that cast an early ballot in the 2014 midterm election.

Kruse had projected the county would receive about 65,000 early ballots. Both major political parties made a concerted effort this year to lock in as many early votes as possible.

The county will continue to accept early ballots at its drop-box locations until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Kruse says his office has encountered a few small problems when poll workers called in sick, but overall the election is running smoothly.

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