The midterm blue wave hit a Sarpy County firewall as Congressman Don Bacon earned a second term in the House of Representatives by fending off a challenge from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

His opponent, 47-year-old Kara Eastman, conceded the election shortly before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

"I will speak to Congressman Bacon this morning. I appreciate his service to our country. I hope this race highlighted the need to listen to the residents of the second district, and to put people first."

Bacon, 54, is a retired Air Force brigadier general who made bipartisanship and civility a centerpiece of his campaign.

But he also fired up Republican stalwarts by leaning in to sharing a stage with President Donald Trump and promoting issues such as the recent tax overhaul bill.

Bacon was several percentage points ahead all night in a district that has been described as one of the closest in the country.

"Despite this wave that we’re seeing and going against the headwinds right now — we’re losing some seats out there — this district held firm," he said.

He spoke to a cheering group that included colleague Adrian Smith of Nebraska's 3rd District and Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert introduced him around 11 p.m.

"Our district is indeed fortunate to have Don Bacon representing us and our country is blessed," Stothert said.

Eastman is a nonprofit executive and member of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors who tried to ride a progressive wave to Congress.

 “From the beginning I promised that we would run a campaign that didn’t put winning over integrity, and we did that," she said in a statement. "We fought for working people and for those of us who feel like our voices aren’t heard by the people in power. We energized Democrats like never before. We refused corporate PAC money and didn’t sell out to big-money interests. We didn’t play by the old rules, and I am so proud of my team and of our message. 

Eastman defeated former congressman Brad Ashford in the primary on a platform that included Medicare-for-all, debt-free college and raising the minimum wage.

Her race was closely watched by national progressives, who wanted to prove that sort of message could play in a swing district.

Early Tuesday evening, Douglas County Democratic Party chairwoman Crystal Rhoades took the stage to introduce Eastman. She said the 2016 election results were tough, but that Eastman represented a beacon of hope in their wake.

“Kara is bold and strong and smart, kind and optimistic in a way that most people can never be,” Rhoades said.

She noted that Tuesday was Eastman’s birthday and led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Eastman. Later, a birthday cake sat uncut in the lobby.

When the candidate herself took the microphone she also alluded to what she described as a “little bit of desperation in the country right now.”

“But win or lose this campaign has changed politics in America,” Eastman said to the crowd’s applause. “We set out to do something really different. We set out to actually talk to voters, ask them questions, answer their questions and to represent the values not only of Nebraskans but of all Americans.”

Eastman spoke passionately during the campaign about her mother’s health problems and the toll of high medication prices as she called for a Medicare-for-all approach. Those stories resonated with her supporters and helped drive them to the polls.

“My mom would be so proud of me just for doing this and doing this for her, but more importantly for everybody else,” she said at one point Tuesday night.

Bacon and Republicans argued her political philosophy was a poor fit for a swing district with a slight rightward tilt.

And he ultimately prevailed.

Bacon focused much of his first term on military issues. He served on the conference committee for the National Defense Authorization Act, a rarity for a freshman. Among his legislation that passed is a bill that helps Gold Star families, or those who have lost a member serving during war, access on-base benefits.

He's also been a stalwart Republican vote on issues like the tax overhaul bill and the unsuccessful House attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

He has struck a more moderate tone on immigration, saying he supports funding for a border wall but also wants to see DACA recipients — immigrants brought here illegally as children — get a pathway to citizenship.

He said Tuesday that his priorities for the next term include health care, immigration and getting people who are unemployed back into the workforce.

"We don’t know what’s (coming) in this Congress but this is what I want you to know: I am committed to leading with civility, respect, but with conservative values," he told a crowd of supporters. "We’re going to use the Constitution as our guidebook."