Nonprofit executive Kara Eastman is the projected victor of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary, staving off a comeback bid by former Democratic Rep. "My two Democratic opponents both would have opposed either one of those".
The others seeking the GOP nomination are retired Omaha math professor Jack Heidel; writer and retired air conditioning technician Dennis Frank Macek; former finance manager Jeffrey Lynn Stein; and Lincoln businessman Todd Watson.
Eastman contrasted herself against Ashford, a centrist and former Republican who focused on his legislative experience and willingness to work with conservatives.
And while the primary remained quite civil - his niece is close friends with her daughter - an Eastman win would set up a far different general election campaign, one national Democrats feel far less confident about.
Democrats Vanessa Gayle Ward, an Omaha community activist, and University of Nebraska at Omaha instructor Tyler Davis were also seeking the nomination in their first bids for public office.
Eastman ran as the progressive alternative to Ashford, seizing on the enthusiasm within the party stoked by opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpOregon governor to face state rep in November Ashford, Eastman neck and neck in Nebraska Dem primary Progressive pick Wild wins Dem primary for Pa. House seat MORE and arguing that a true progressive candidate from outside politics can help carry the party's flag forward. The candidates were Kirk Penner, an Aurora small business executive; Larry Lee Scott Bollinger, a property manager and author from Alliance; and Arron Kowalski, a Grand Island farmer.
Fortenberry was unopposed in Tuesday's race.
Rep. Adrian Smith led in the 3rd District Republican primary with roughly two-thirds of the vote.
Tuesday is the primary election day for the Nebraska midterm general election.
Of the 24 districts that are up for election, 10 have more than three candidates vying for the seat.