First District Result Seen as Signaling 'Horserace' in November

June 29, 2022, 3 p.m. ·

Map of Nebraska showing First Congressional District in red (Source: Nebraska Legislature)
Map of Nebraska showing First Congressional District in red (Source: Nebraska Legislature)

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Republican Mike Flood defeated Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks in Tuesday’s special election in Nebraska’s First Congressional District. But a University of Nebraska political scientist said the closeness of the election suggests a highly competitive rematch in November.

University of Nebraska at Omaha Political Science Professor Randy Adkins said he was surprised, not by the outcome, but by the closeness of the election.

“That election was a lot closer than I expected it to be… so I think if I were a Democrat in the First Congressional District today, I’d be pretty encouraged by what happened," Adkins said.

Adkins said the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections, gives Republicans almost a 10 point advantage in the district, based on past elections. Flood defeated Pansing Brooks by 6 percentage points, 53-47 percent. Adkins says that showing should enable Pansing Brooks to attract support from the national party and others leading up to the November election.

“I think we’ve definitely got a horserace here. I think what I’ll be looking for is to see what the two national-level political parties – both the congressional caucuses’ campaign committees, and then other forms of outside money -- what type of outside money is going to come into the district. I think I would expect if I lived in the First Congressional District to see a barrage of tv advertisements,” he said.

Tuesday’s election was to fill the remaining portion of former Congressman Jeff Fortenberry’s term. Fortenberry, a Republican, resigned in March after being convicted of lying to the FBI about illegal foreign campaign contributions. November’s election is to decide who will represent the eastern Nebraska district for the next two years, beginning in January.