Flood Running to Replace Fortenberry in Congress

Jan. 16, 2022, midnight ·

State Senator Mike Flood announces, flanked by (from left) son Blake, wife Mandy and son Brenden (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)
State Sen. Mike Flood announces, flanked by (from left) son Blake, wife Mandi and son Brenden (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)

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Nebraska State Senator Mike Flood jumped into the Republican primary race for Nebraska’s First Congressional District Sunday. Flood said his party will lose if it renominates Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, who’s been indicted for allegedly lying to the FBI about campaign contributions.

Flood announced his candidacy in the rotunda of the state Capitol, where he currently represents Norfolk in the Legislature and previously served as speaker. The 46-year old lawyer and media network owner said the stakes are high in this year’s election.

“Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are using the House of Representatives to ram through a radical socialist agenda that will destroy the nation we love,” Flood said.

And Flood said Fortenberry’s legal situation endangers Republican control of the congressional district, which contains all or part of 12 eastern Nebraska counties including the city of Lincoln.

“If our Republican nominee is waging a battle against prosecutors in a courtroom out of state, he is not campaigning in Nebraska’s First Congressional District. And that puts this seat in jeopardy. If our nominee has to focus on fighting felony criminal charges, instead of defeating a serious Democrat opponent, this seat is in jeopardy and we will not win,” he said.

Fortenberry, a 61-year old, nine-term incumbent, is running for reelection, and is scheduled to go on trial next month in Los Angeles on charges he lied to the FBI about receiving illegal campaign contributions from a Nigerian billionaire.

Two candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination: state Senator Patty Pansing Brooks and internet personalitiy and community activist Jazari Kual. In a statement, Pansing Brooks said Flood’s announcement showed Nebraskans are ready for change. Fortenberry campaign spokesman Chad Kolton said the congressman continues to receive support from leaders across the district because “people know his leadership, work ethic and accomplishments for Nebraska and America.”