Live Blog: Nebraska 2020 Primary Election Results

May 12, 2020 - 7:30pm

The NET News team is providing live coverage of the Nebraska 2020 primary election. The most recent updates will appear at the top of this page. 

More coverage at

Most current election results available at

Most Incumbents Lead Legislative Races

11:50 p.m. Central

In races for the Nebraska Legislature, in nearly every instance incumbents were leading challengers.

That included one senator appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, Julie Slama of Peru. But another Ricketts appointee, Andrew LaGrone of Gretna, trailed challenger Jen Day.

There are six seats opened up by term limits forcing out incumbents; of those races, it appears only three will have a registered Democrat running against a registered Republican in the fall. That reduced the chances of a significant change in party registrations in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, which currently has 31 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and one independent.

Janicek Will Challenge Sasse

11:45 p.m. Central 

Omaha businessman Chris Janicek won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse in November.

Janicek, who runs bakery businesses and invests in property in Omaha, outpolled six other Democrats to win his party’s nomination. Meanwhile, Sasse easily outdistanced challenger Matt Innis to win renomination for a second term. 


'Purple' 2nd District Is Re-Match Between Rep. Bacon, Kara Eastman

11:20 p.m. Central

Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District will run against Democratic challenger Kara Eastman in the November election.

Bacon easily beat out Republican challenger Paul Anderson in Tuesday’s primary election, with about 90% of the vote. Eastman won about 61% of the vote against fellow Democrats Ann Ashford, with about 32% of votes, and Gladys Harrison with about 6%. (See most up-to-date results on the Secretary of State website.)

The November ballot is a rematch for Bacon and Eastman, who ran against each other in the district two years ago. Bacon won by fewer than 5,000 votes.

Bacon says he’s encouraged by high turnout among Republicans this year, but says he won’t take his foot off the gas: "We’re going to have to work as hard as we can, because this is a purple district."

Eastman said she learned a lot from the 2018 campaign — and says a lot has happened in the two years Bacon has been in office.

"People now see that he’s not looking out for them," Eastman said. "He’s simply looking out for his party; he’s looking out for special interests."


Voter Turnout Surpasses 2016 Primary

11:15 p.m. Central 

Voter turnout has already surpassed the 2016 primary election, with 70% of precincts fully reporting and 21% of precincts partially reporting.

About 442,000 Nebraskans have voted, according to the partial results. That represents about 36% of the 1,216,431 registered voters. 

In the 2016 primary election, turnout was 26.9% of the state's 1,165,308 registered voters. 

AP Call: Kara Eastman (2nd District)

9:10 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Kara Eastman the Democratic nominee in the 2nd Congressional District. She will face incumbent Rep. Don Bacon in the general election. 

AP Call: Janicek Wins Crowded U.S. Senate Democratic Primary

9:05 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Chris Janicek the winner in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. 

Janicek has 31.18% of votes against six other candidates, with 63% of precincts partially reporting and 5% of precincts fully reporting. 

Janicek will run against incumbent Republican Ben Sasse and Libertarian Gene Siadek in the general election. 

AP Call: Rep. Adrian Smith (3rd District)

8:53 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Rep. Adrian Smith the winner in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.

He has 83.28% of the vote over four challengers, with 38% of precincts partially reporting and  7.6% of precincts fully reporting.

AP Calls: Kate Bolz (1st District) & Rep. Don Bacon (2nd District)

8:40 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press has declared winners in two key races: 

Kate Bolz wins Democratic nomination for 1st Congressional District, with 79.15% of the vote and 52% of precincts partially reporting. 

Rep. Don Bacon wins the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, with 90.62% of the vote and 65% of precincts partially reporting.

Biden, Sasse Win Easily

8:30 p.m. Central | Associated Press

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden sailed to an easy victory in the election.

So did Republican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, who faced a GOP primary challenge because of his previous criticism of President Donald Trump.

Early Results

8:10 p.m. Central

Results from early voting have been posted on the Nebraska Secretary of State's website

Kate Bolz is leading in the Democratic primary for Congressional District 1, with 79.2% of the vote over opponent Babs Ramsey. Incumbent Rep. Jeff Fortenberry is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Dennis Grace is running unopposed in the Libertarian primary. 

In Congressional District 2, Kara Eastman is leading with 61.19% of the vote over opponents Ann Ashford (32.66%) and Gladys Harrison (6.14%). Incumbent Rep. Don Bacon has 90.62% of votes in the Republican primary against Paul Anderson. Tyler Schaeffer is running unopposed as a Libertarian.

In Congressional District 3, incumbent Rep. Adrian Smith has 83.2% of the vote in a race with four Republican primary opponents. Mark Elworth, Jr. is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Dustin C. Hobbs is running unopposed in the Libertarian primary. 

President of the United States: Democratic Party (45% of precincts partially reporting)

  • Joe Biden: 79.65%
  • Bernie Sanders: 12.22%
  • Elizabeth Warren: 5.86%

Photos: Polling Sites Across The State

7:30 p.m. Central

Polls across the state will close at 8 p.m. central time. 

Election officials hoped polling sites would be quiet after a record number of Nebraskans submitted mail-in ballots. 

"I went to vote today," said Gov. Pete Ricketts. "I went right at 8 o'clock, I was the only person there to vote. When I turned around and left there was one other person walking in, and usually there's a line at my polling place. So I am guessing that many people took advantage of the opportunity to send in an early ballot." 

Gov. Ricketts signed an executive order allowing the National Guard to serve as poll workers in counties with shortages. 

A poll worker disinfects a voting station at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Aurora. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

A voter at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Aurora. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

Election officials hoped polling sites would be quiet after hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans sent mail-in ballots. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

Casting ballots at the Clay County Courthouse in Clay Center, Nebraska. All voting in Clay County is done by mail. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

A poll worker at the First Congregational Church in Hastings. (Bill Kelly, NET News)




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