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Political Note #292   Kara Eastman. NE CD 02

2020                             General Election

Kara Eastman is someone who defies the odds.  What are the odds against her now?

Omaha is the core of NE 02.  In 2008, Democrat Jim Esch came close to being elected to Congress from NE 02.  He only lost by 4 points. The Nebraska legislature fixed that.  They moved the Offut Air Force Base out of the district, reducing the minority population of the district, reducing the number of Democrats in the district.  Despite the redistricting, the incumbent Republican only won by 2 points in 2012 and lost to Brad Ashford by 3 points in 2014.

Brad Ashford lasted a single term.  He lost to Republican Don Bacon in 2016.  Brad Ashford wanted another shot.  He ran again in 2018.  Kara Eastman got in his way.  She won the Democratic primary by 4 points. Ashford was the DCCC’s preferred candidate.  They never really came round to helping Kara Eastman in the general election which she lost by 2 points.

In 2020, the Democratic leadership favored another Ashford, Ann, Brad’s wife.  Local Democrats did not favor her.  Kara Eastman won the primary by 30 points.  Now she has another chance to defeat the incumbent.  She could just do it with a little help.

Kara Eastman is going to get help this time.  Not from Ann Ashford, who declined to endorse her because of policy differences.  Kara Eastman will get help from the people who did not help her in 2018.  The DCCC expressed support, releasing a poll that showed Kara Eastman defeating the incumbent Republican 48-47.  State political party leaders expressed support, noting that, despite her husband’s politics, Ann Ashford had remained a Republican until a few years ago.  The Biden staff has stepped in to create a coordinated campaign for this district, which is more important than the average congressional district.  Nebraska awards Electoral College votes based on votes in Congressional District.  Obama won an Electoral College vote from NE 02.  Joe Biden would like to do the same, while also electing a Democratic Member of Congress.

Where did Kara Eastman come from?  From Evanston, Illinois.  From Pitzer College, one of the Claremont colleges.  From social work school in Chicago.  From the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance where she had been President and Chief Executive Officer from 2006 until 2018 when she ran for Congress the first time.

Where is Kara Eastman coming from?  Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote urging support for her in the general election: “She recalls her great uncle, who was head of the carpenters’ union in Chicago, her uncles and grandfather who served in Vietnam and WW II.  She notes her husband, who teaches where they met, at Creighton University – [Omaha] Nebraska’s Jesuit College.”  She grew up the child of a single mother, raised by her mother and by her mother’s parents, Kara Eastman’s grandparents.  She told her mother her goal was to save the world.  She persists in that goal.  She brought that goal to secular and intellectual Pritzer College.  She brought that goal to social work school.  She brought that goal to Omaha.  She is trying again to bring that goal to Washington.

Childish ideals?  Not exactly. Kara Eastman is good at the work of saving the world.  She’s good at making things work.  She founded the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance to combat lead poisoning. Moving well beyond that original goal, the organization became an integral part of creating safe housing in Omaha.  She is proud of her capacity to create partnerships, having worked with the City of Omaha, with the Kresge Foundation, and Omaha’s Children’s Hospital.

Too radical for Omaha?  Ann Ashford claims that.  Kara Eastman is for investing in infrastructure, treating gun safety as a public health issue, treating health care as a human right, ending the separation of immigrant families, reducing income inequality, addressing racial injustice through job creation, transparency in government, healthcare for veterans, and trust in women making their own decisions about their health.  Kara Eastman lost by 2 percent without the support of the state and national Democratic Party in 2018.  She has that support for 2020. If she was out of the mainstream in 2018, she wasn’t far out.  She is not out of the mainstream in 2020.

Be another one of Kara Eastman’s partners.  Help her flip this Republican seat.  She is skillful enough so that, two years from now, I may be asking you to support her again.  Maybe, she will have ensconced herself so well, I will not even have to ask.  Help her now, though.

Below are Congressional seats Democrats are trying to flip from incumbent Republicans.  The ones with asterisks ran in 2018*  In 2018, Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in the House.  Let’s flip 20 more.

 Arizona 06                        Hiral Tipirneni* to defeat incumbent David Schweikert

Arkansas 02.                    Joyce Elliott to defeat incumbent French Hill

California 25.                    Christy Smith to defeat incumbent Mike Garcia who won the May special election.

California 50                     Ammar Campa-Hajjar* to win this now open Rep seat

Florida 16                         Margaret Good to defeat incumbent Vern Buchanan

Illinois 13                          Betsy Dirksen Londrigen* to defeat incumbent Rodney Davis

Indiana 05                        Christina Hale to win this open Republican seat

Iowa 04                            JD Scholten* to defeat incumbent Steve King

Kansas 02                        Michelle De La Isla to defeat incumbent Steve Watkins

Michigan 03.                    Hillary Scholten to win this open seat

Michigan 06                     Jon Hoadley to defeat incumbent Fred Upton

Minnesota 01                   Dan Feehan* to defeat incumbent Jim Hagedorn

Missouri 02                      Jill Schupp to defeat incumbent Ann Wagner

Montana AL                     Kathleen Williams* to win this open Republican seat

Nebraska 02.                   Kara Eastman to defeat incumbent Don Bacon

New York 02                    Jackie Gordon to win this open Republican seat

New York 21                    Tedra Cobb* to defeat incumbent Elise Stefanic

New York 24                    Dana Balter* to defeat incumbent John Katko

North Carolina 09.           Cynthia Wallace to defeat incumbent Dan Bishop

Pennsylvania 10              Eugene DePasquale to defeat incumbent Scott Perry

Texas 02                         Sima Ladjervardian to defeatncumbent Dan Crenshaw

Texas 21                         Wendy Davis to defeat incumbent Chip Roy

Texas 22                         Sri Preston Kalkuri to win this open Republican seat

Texas 23                          Gina Ortiz Jones* to win this open Republican seat

Texas 24                          Kim Olson to win this open Republican seat

Washington 03                 Carolyn Long* to defeat incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler

Wisconsin 07                   Tricia Zunker to defeat incumbent Tom Tiffany who won the May Special Election