Nebraska’s 2nd District will see an Eastman versus Ashford rematch in 2020 — but this time around, progressive Kara Eastman will face Ann Ferlic Ashford, the wife of her 2018 Democratic primary opponent.
Ann Ashford, 58, said Friday evening that she intends to seek the congressional seat her husband held during the 2015-16 session, representing Douglas County and western Sarpy County.
Ashford, an attorney who recently left her job at Clarkson Regional Health Services, said her top issues include jobs and the economy and standing up for marginalized people.
She also said she wants to bring people together and appeal across the aisle.
“I think that today’s environment has become so splintered because everybody says, ‘I’m going to fight,’ and I don’t understand that,” she said. “If we continue to fight, we’re going to see the same non-results that we see today.”
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She said she thinks that Democratic voters want a nominee who can win the general election — and contends that she could be that nominee.
Ashford was a Republican until December 2016, when she decided that the GOP is no longer a “big-tent” party that welcomes everyone.
“The Democratic Party on a national level, what I saw was they truly became the big-tent party,” she said.
Ann Ashford has not held elected office. She ran for a seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents in 2012 but lost to former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub.
Her husband, Brad Ashford, a former Republican turned independent turned moderate Democrat, won the 2nd District seat in 2014 but lost his 2016 re-election bid to Republican Don Bacon. He ran again last year but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Eastman, a nonprofit executive who embraced progressive issues such as “Medicare-for-all.”
Eastman then lost to Bacon in November; she said in December that she would seek a rematch.
Eastman, 47, declined to comment Friday.
Bacon, 55, said Friday that his focus will be on doing a good job this session.
“It’s been a privilege for me to be elected twice, and I’m going to work my hardest to serve this district,” he said.
Ann Ashford toyed with the idea of running for the seat in 2018 but stepped aside when her husband decided to get in the race.
This time around, she said, she will definitely be the Ashford on the 2nd District ballot.
“Oh yeah,” she said Friday. “No, he’s not running. I am running.”
Ashford said she wants to be a congresswoman who listens to all constituents.
“We all have to stand up for one another, we all have to support one another and we all have to make sure that the American dream is realized for all of us,” she said.