Nebraska Examiner: Vargas among first wave of Democratic congressional challengers drawing national interest

In The News   Posted by Tony Vargas · January 29, 2024

OMAHA — An experienced candidate capable of raising funds and a vulnerable Republican representing a House district that voted for Joe Biden in 2020 has raised the profile of Nebraska’s 2nd District with national Democrats.

On Monday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put the Omaha-area congressional race in its top 17 “Red to Blue” races for national donors to follow as the party tries to flip control of the House.

The label signals that the DCCC sees State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha among the Democratic candidates who are most capable of beating a Republican incumbent. U.S. Rep. Don Bacon first faces a primary battle with Omaha businessman Dan Frei.

Typically, the first wave of targeted races receive more interest from national donors and outside groups. Many are competitive districts that state legislatures have had a hard time tilting to either party’s lasting advantage during once-a-decade redistricting.

Vargas told the Examiner he is excited the work of his campaign staff and volunteers is being recognized. He said many of his supporters will be energized by his race being identified as one of the best chances for Democrats to pick up a seat.

He said his team is focused on talking to Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisan voters who are fed up with the status quo, inflation and a Congress that gets little done.

“We came within 2.5% of unseating Don Bacon last cycle, despite being significantly outspent with outside Republican money in the tune of nearly $10 million,” Vargas said. “So this campaign has just been building off of the momentum from all the work.”

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., who chairs the DCCC, said the group is impressed by Vargas’ “proven record of fighting for working families,” including his support for tax cuts and job creation and touted his support for “reproductive freedom.”

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