Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District Race Heats Up

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October 15, 2020 - 9:07am

One of the mostly contested seats in Congress this year is Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional Seat where Incumbent Republican Don Bacon takes on Democratic challenger Kara Eastman.


There are a bevy of topics on the minds of Nebraskans, perhaps none more than the Coronavirus pandemic. As Election Day nears, and thousands of Nebraskans voting early this year, the topic is being heard by candidates on the campaign trail too. In Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Incumbent Republican Don Bacon takes on Democratic challenger Kara Eastman. Bacon said his focus this past year has been helping his constituents during the pandemic.

"I think that's where I could say that was my biggest successes. It was my bill that got the masks to be mass produced in United States," Bacon said.

Bacon also said he’s fought during the past year on several bills including HR 2862 which helps monitor vaccination rates, and helps get the words out on the importance of vaccines.

“I supported legislation for the vaccines,” Bacon said. “I supported legislation for the safety net for people who lost their jobs. I voted for the CARES bill that say 51 million jobs.”

He also points to the $2.2 trillion dollar CARES Act which, provided direct economic assistance for American workers and families. It also helped fund the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses during the shutdowns this year.

“88% of Nebraska small businesses took the paycheck protection loans,” Bacon said. “And by the way, my opponent belittled it and called it “a corporate heist.”

Kara Eastman said she thinks Congress should’ve given more than the $2.2 trillion to help American workers and small business owners. She said she hears every day from Nebraskans in CD2 that are really hurting.

“People are really worried about the fact that they've lost their job, that they've lost loved ones,” Eastman said. “They're afraid for their own health and safety for their kid’s health and safety. They're afraid for a lot of things.”

If she’s elected, Eastman said her plan is straightforward – to help the tens of thousands of Nebraskans hurt by job loss.

“My priority right now is to get into Congress to get the economy back on track and make sure people can go back to work safely,” Eastman said.

Eastman said bacon hasn’t done enough to help Nebraskans during the pandemic and aligns him with President Donald Trump and what she calls “the many failures of a terrible administration.”

“We're going to need government intervention for the COVID response – obviously my priority – been talking about it a lot on the campaign trail,” Eastman said.

This is one of hotly contested races in the country, the political heat has been turned up in the form of political ads, by both candidates.

They say the pandemic points to the importance of an improved health care system. Though each differ on just how to fix it. Bacon wants to work on the Affordable Care Act and improve on it. Previously he voted to repeal the ACA and with it pre-existing conditions, a point that Eastman has hammered home in debates and ads. He said now he’s changes his mind on what to do with the ACA.

“We do need to have some reforms to our health care,” Bacon said. ”I cannot support Medicare For All that, it takes 180 million people with employer provided health care and gets rid of it and puts under a government system.”

Eastman wants to scrap the ACA and is for Single Payer Healthcare, or as Bacon calls it “socialized medicine.” She said people just want less expensive healthcare and medicines.

“We are hearing from so many people in the district to say their prescriptions have gone up even more during this pandemic,” Eastman said.

Cook Political Report, an independent, non-partisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns, has moved the race from a lean Republican seat to a toss-up. Attempts to reach out to the Libertarian candidate in CD2, Tyler Schaeffer were unsuccessful.

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