USA Today: Why Democrats are eyeing Congressman Don Bacon's seat in Nebraska

In The News   Posted by Tony Vargas · February 20, 2024

With overflowing war chests and national attention, Nebraska's second congressional district is home to one of the most anticipated rematches in the House of Representatives. The candidates: a rising Latino star in the Democratic party against a four-term Republican incumbent who has sparked the ire of former President Donald Trump

Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas, 39, is running against Republican incumbent Rep. Don Bacon, 60, for the second time after losing to him by fewer than 6,000 votes in 2022. With the Republicans holding onto the House with a historically slim majority, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) identified the seat as one that could be flipped.

"The election in 2022 really represented where we're at from the district because the independents broke down the middle and the intensity was the same on both sides," Bacon said in an interview with USA Today. "I just have to work hard; it's gonna be competitive no matter what."

Vargas believes his campaign is in a better position than in 2022 and will benefit from greater voter turnout during a presidential election year and the national interest from the DCCC. In his last year as a state senator due to term limits, Vargas says he is happy with the momentum his campaign is building. If elected, he would be the first Latino elected to the seat.

"This will no doubt be one of the closest races in the country again, but with the support we’re seeing, we know we can win,” Vargas said in an email.

And then there's the money as they are both equally flush. According to the latest Federal Election Commission filings, Bacon raised more than $780,000 at the end of 2023, giving him a nest egg of $1.5 million, while Vargas brought in more than $500,000 in the fourth quarter of last year resulting in $1.1 million.

As for types of campaign cash, Vargas raised most of his money from small donations inside the Cornhusker State, while Bacon scored larger donations from political action committees -- typical donor profiles for both the incumbent and the challenger.

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