Democrat Kara Eastman will Challenge Don Bacon Again in Nebraska, Seeking to Become First Democratic Woman to Represent Nebraska in Congress


Final votes were counted yesterday in Nebraska’s congressional primary. Full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, summaries, results from previous primaries, and historical comparisons, are available via the Center for American Women and Politics’ (CAWP) Election Watch.

Among the most notable results for women:

  • Women are 2 of 3 Democratic nominees for the U.S. House from Nebraska, each challenging incumbent Republican men.
  • In Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district, Democratic nominee Kara Eastman will challenge incumbent Republican Representative Don Bacon in a rematch of their 2018 general election contest. Eastman lost her bid against Bacon by just 2 points in 2018 and this year’s contest is currently rated as Lean Republican by Cook Political Report. If Eastman defeats Bacon in November, she will be the first Democratic woman in Congress from Nebraska and the first woman to represent Nebraska in the U.S. House since 1990.


U.S. Senate

Women are currently 1 (1R) of 5 (20%) members of the Nebraska delegation to the U.S. Congress. Incumbent Senator Deb Fischer (R) is not up for re-election this year.

2 (2D) women were defeated in their primary bids for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate to challenge incumbent Senator Ben Sasse (R).


U.S. House

No women currently serve in Nebraska’s three-member delegation to the U.S. House, and no woman has represented Nebraska in the U.S. House since 1990.

Women candidates secured 2 of 6 (33.3%) major-party nominations for U.S. House seats decided in Nebraska on May 12th. Women are 2 of 3 (66.6%) Democratic nominees for U.S. House and 0 of 3 (0%) Republican nominees for the U.S. House in Nebraska. All Republican nominees are male incumbents.  

  • Kara Eastman (D) will challenge incumbent Representative Don Bacon (R) in Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district. Eastman lost her bid against Bacon by just 2 points in 2018. This general election contest is currently rated as Lean Republican by Cook Political Report. If Eastman defeats Bacon in November, she will be the first Democratic woman in Congress from Nebraska and the first woman to represent Nebraska in the U.S. House since 1990. Learn more about women running again in 2020 after a 2018 loss at our Rebound Candidates page.
  • Kate Bolz (D) will challenge incumbent Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R) in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district. Fortenberry, who defeated Democrat Jessica McClure by 20 points in 2018, is strongly favored to win re-election.
  • There are no open U.S. House seats in Nebraska in this year’s election.

Both (2D) women nominees for the U.S. House from Nebraska are White women. Nebraska has never sent a woman of color to Congress nor elected a woman of color to any statewide office (U.S. Senate or statewide executive).

Special elections for U.S. House seats were also held yesterday California's 25th congressional district and Wisconsin's 7th congressional district. Tricia Zunker (D) was defeated in Wisconsin and the contest between Christy Smith (D) and Mike Garcia (R) in California is still too close to call. For primary results summaries from other states and full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, summaries, and historical comparisons, see CAWP’s Election Watch.