20180516_new_election_JN10

The crowd cheers on Kara Eastman on Tuesday at the Field Club in Omaha.

"The success of very liberal candidates in primaries across four states is causing a new bout of heartburn among party strategists in Washington, who worry about unelectable activists thwarting their drive for the House majority. But it also reflects a broader leftward lurch among Democrats across the country since President Trump took office.

"In Nebraska, a liberal social worker and political neophyte who built her campaign around 'Medicare for All' scored a shocking upset in a Democratic primary to take on Rep. Don Bacon (R). Kara Eastman, 45, beat former congressman Brad Ashford, 68, in an Omaha-area district that national Democrats believed they could pick up in November.

"Eastman advocated for universal background checks to buy guns, raising taxes and decriminalizing marijuana..."

"Ashford had the full-throated support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which must now reevaluate whether to invest in the race."

"A first-time female candidate edged out the party favorite in a Nebraska House primary, dealing the Democratic establishment one of its first major blows this cycle....

"Democratic strategists and candidates themselves say, by meddling early on, the establishment may be stymieing the party's promised blue wave." 

"Moderate Democrats got a rude awakening on Tuesday night. Along with Brad Ashford in Nebraska, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, another centrist who drew a challenge from the left, lost in Pennsylvania....

"(Kara) Eastman’s victory had liberals feeling emboldened. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group, said Tuesday night that Eastman’s win should teach Democrats that 'the way to inspire voters in 2018 is to campaign on a bold progressive agenda of Medicare for All, higher wages for workers, and other economic populist ideas that help working families and challenge corporate power.'”

CNN:

"A nonprofit executive who campaigned on offering 'Medicare for all,' stunned the Democratic establishment and secured one of the activist left's biggest wins yet Tuesday in a House primary in Nebraska....

"Now, the national party is left grappling with whether (Kara) Eastman's win will hurt their chances of ousting Republican Rep. Don Bacon, who had been seen as vulnerable in November.

"Tuesday's stunner in Omaha was a major primary victory for the left and underscored the momentum behind progressive and female candidates within the party."

fivethirtyeight.com:

"The Democratic Party woke up this morning with a clear signal from Tuesday’s primary elections: The #Resistance means business. The more progressive candidate won in Democratic primaries around the country. The question, however, is whether those more liberal candidates will hurt the party’s chances in November.

"The biggest — and most surprising — news of the night was nonprofit executive Kara Eastman’s nomination in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. Although former U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford had both the money and the backing of national Democrats, Eastman defeated him 51 percent to 49 percent. Like many of Tuesday’s victorious Democrats, Eastman won by throwing red (blue?) meat to the liberal base: Where Ashford touted his ability to build consensus in Congress, Eastman promised confrontation and, well, resistance to President Trump.

"The potential problem for Democrats is that Eastman’s outspoken liberalism may turn off general-election voters in Nebraska’s 2nd District, which, while not ruby red, is still red."

NPR:

"A big message out of Tuesday night — and one that's been brewing since Trump was elected — is that Democratic establishment efforts to hold back liberals are unlikely to be successful.

Democrats need to net 23 seats to take back the House in November. But in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, in particular, a seat Democrats hoped to put high on the target list may have come off the board."

 

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