The Omaha fire union has thrown its support behind Republican Rep. Don Bacon over Democratic challenger Kara Eastman.
The group cited Bacon’s support for a cancer registry for firefighters at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the passage of a bill he sponsored, named after slain Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco, that would waive the residency waiting period to become a citizen for surviving family members of first responders who die in the line of duty.
“He’s a person who gets things done in a way that’s approachable with great civility,” said Fire Union President Steve LeClair. He praised Bacon for having “an open door and open mind.”
The Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association represents 660 Omaha firefighters, and the endorsement often comes with lots of volunteer support, making it a prized labor group for politicians.
And it’s the second time this year that the group has endorsed a Republican for a major office — the union also backed Sen. Deb Fischer for re-election over Democratic Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould.
Labor groups traditionally support mostly Democrats. But LeClair cautioned not to read too much into the pair of high-profile Republican endorsements this year, saying “we have two outstanding candidates” in Bacon and Fischer.
For her part, Eastman announced the support of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the granddaughter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on Thursday.
Roosevelt cited Eastman’s support for expanding Social Security.
“My grandfather signed Social Security into law, and Kara Eastman knows that millions of senior citizens live in dignity as a result,” she said in a statement.
Eastman’s other recent endorsements include the Nebraska chapter of the Sierra Club, Plumbers Local 16, the Nebraska State Council of Machinists, Unite Here labor union and actor Mark Ruffalo. Her campaign also said Thursday that she had been endorsed by the Working Hero political action committee, a group founded by a Los Angeles entrepreneur that supports progressive Democrats against incumbent Republicans.
Bacon has also received support from the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police and the Council for Citizens against Government Waste.