Sasse, Janicek Address Party Disagreements in U.S. Senate Debate

Sept. 4, 2020, 9:21 p.m. ·

Democrat Chris Janicek (left) and Republican Sen. Ben Sasse at the NET News U.S. Senate Debate (Credit: NET)

Both candidates for U.S. Senate in Nebraska talked about disagreements with their own political parties during a debate hosted by NET News Friday night.

Incumbent Sen. Ben Sasse has been openly critical of President Trump and the Republican Party at large. Asked about how he’ll represent Nebraskans, Sasse said he’s been a conservative his entire life, and that hasn’t changed.

"We need more politics of gratitude in this country, and less politics of grievance," Sasse said. "Both of these two parties are consumed by people, a small number of people but they’re the loudest screaming voices, that want to tell everybody America is broken and our best days are behind us and it’s not fixable. Nebraskans don’t believe that."

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Democrat Chris Janicek said he doesn’t work for the Nebraska Democratic Party, so that party’s opposition to his candidacy isn’t important to him.

The party withdrew all support and called on Janicek to withdraw from the race after a female staffer filed a harassment complaint because Janicek sent sexually explicit text messages about her to other staffers.

Janicek said he apologized for the messages.

"So we need to move on from that text message and we need to start talking about policy," Janicek said. "I’m not going to let five minutes of my life ruin everything I’ve done for women’s rights, and women’s and children’s shelters previous to that happening. And we need to work as a country together. We need to show unity and come together and stop with the partisan politics."

Janicek’s top priority is healthcare reform, making insurance more accessible and affordable.

Sasse touted his work on the Intelligence Committee and the Congressional response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The election is Tuesday, November 3. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is October 27.

Watch the full debate below: