Adrian Smith

Rep. Adrian Smith

Nebraskans are sending Rep. Adrian Smith back to Washington.

The Republican incumbent rebuffed a challenger Tuesday who faced significant disadvantages in fundraising and name recognition.

Smith has represented the state’s sprawling and largely rural 3rd District since 2007. He defeated Democrat Paul Theobald, who ran a campaign that tilted strongly to the left in spite of the deep-red leanings of the district.

Theobald’s platform included a call for a Medicare-for-all approach to health care, for example. Theobald said Smith had failed to counter President Donald Trump’s excesses and accomplished little to improve incomes in the district or stop the loss of population in many counties.

Smith focused on Republican actions to roll back regulations and cut taxes, moves he said have the district poised to grow. On health care, he supported repealing the Affordable Care Act and rejected Theobald’s health care plans as too expensive.

Theobald complained that Smith refused to debate him despite saying multiple times that he would.

Smith spokesman Chris Peterson told The World-Herald at one point that Theobald’s public statements had shown he was more interested in political games than discussing the issues. But Peterson did not specify what statements he was referencing.

Reporter - Politics/Washington D.C.

Joseph Morton is The World-Herald Washington Bureau Chief. Morton joined The World-Herald in 1999 and has been reporting from Washington for the newspaper since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @MortonOWH.

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