Flood, Bacon and Smith advance in Congressional races

May 14, 2024, 2 p.m. ·

Congressman Don Bacon
Congressman Don Bacon. (Photo Courtesy of Don Bacon)

The stage is set for the November election as three Republican incumbent candidates have advanced in pursuit of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

District 2

In District 2, incumbent Don Bacon cruised past challenger Dan Frei, declaring victory shortly after the first results were announced around 8 p.m.

Bacon has represented Nebraska’s second congressional district for seven years and is being challenged by Frei, a Nebraska businessman, in the primary election.

District 2 spans from the Omaha metro area in Douglas County and parts of Sarpy and Saunders Counties.

Bacon received endorsements from Gov. Jim Pillen and other leaders within the party. He initially had the endorsement of the Douglas County GOP, but after a decision to switch, Frei now has each county’s endorsement as well as the state party’s.

"This reflects the state of our district. Our district wants a conservative, who knows how to govern who does what's right for our country who puts our country first. And we seek consensus because that's the way our founders designed it," Bacon said in his victory speech.

Bacon will face Tony Vargas, the lone Democrat in the race, in the general election. Vargas released a statement after winning the nomination Tuesday, thanking his supporters.

“I’m honored to be the Democratic nominee for Nebraska’s second congressional district because Nebraskans deserve a real leader, one who puts Nebraska families first,” he said. “Our families are facing serious challenges: they’re struggling to get ahead, gas and grocery prices are too high, and reproductive freedoms are under attack. And yet Don Bacon is only focused on protecting his political career and caving to his MAGA party bosses. I'm running for Congress to bring real, bipartisan solutions to Nebraska, just like when I bucked my party to pass the largest tax cuts in state history. I look forward to continuing to meet with voters across this district and getting our message out as far as possible from now until November.”

District 1

Republican voters nominated incumbent Mike Flood to run against Democrat Carol Blood in November. Flood received over 80% of votes over challenger Michael Connely.

In 2022, voters elected Mike Flood twice. In June of that year, for a special election, he narrowly defeated Patty Pansing Brooks. Just under 53% of voters chose Flood.

In November, Flood won by a wider margin, with nearly 58% of the votes, again winning against Pansing Brooks.

The special election was called in response to the felony indictment and resignation of former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Fortenberry was charged with lying to the FBI about where he received campaign contributions.

In an interview with Nebraska Public Media on Tuesday, Flood said border security will remain a priority for him as he serves in congress and looks ahead to the November election.

“I think that every Nebraskan paying attention knows that every city in Nebraska is a border city,” he said.

Heading into November, Blood said Congress should act quicker on passing budgets.

“I think it's really important to point out that not only my opponent, but many others in Congress, have created complete disarray,” she said. “And for those that have come from Nebraska, they've clearly forgotten their nonpartisan roots and the ability to really work closely with the other side.”

Blood added she doesn’t believe that Flood is willing to protect Medicaid or work on comprehensive immigration reform.

District 3

In the race for the District 3 seat, incumbent Adrian Smith collected will be the Republican nominee once again, defeating Robert McCuiston and John Walz. Smith will face off in the November general election against either David Else or Daniel Ebers, the two Democrats vying for the seat. That race was too close to call as of 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Smith has faced primary challenges from fellow Republicans before. But never in the past has the state’s Republican Party endorsed a challenger. This time, they’ve endorsed Walz. That happened after insurgent populists wrested control of the party from the establishment wing at a state central committee meeting last July.

A Democrat has not won in District 3 since 1958.