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Primary Turnout 37%, Highest In 2 Decades

LINCOLN – Four members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation – Senator Ben Sasse and Congressmen Adrian Smith, Don Bacon, and Jeff Fortenberry – are up for reelection this year and all but Fortenberry had little-known challengers in the GOP primary.

Sasse had the closest race, but still took 77% of the total against Matt Innis to break the record for most primary votes ever received by a Nebraskan – Republican or Democrat – running for federal office.

Smith got 83% in a 5-way race in the 3rd Congressional District and Bacon claimed 91% against a lone opponent in the 2nd District. Smith was the only one with a single Democrat on the other side, Mark Elworth.

The Democrats had 6 candidates running for the Senate and Omaha businessmanChris Janicek advanced to face Sasse with 31% to 24% for runnerup Angie Phillips. In the 1st Congressional District, Fortenberry will face Kate Bolz, who beat Babs Ramsey 78-22%.

Bacon faces a rematch from 2018 in the 2nd District after Kara Eastman won the Democratic nomination 62% to 32% over Ann Ashford, whose husband held the seat for 1 term before losing to Bacon in 2016. Bacon beat Eastman by about 5,000 votes 2 years ago.

471,431 Nebraskans voted for a 39% turnout, the highest percentage for a primary election in 2 decades and about 10 percentage points higher than in 2016, the last presidential election year.