August 10th, 2010
07:54 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN 100: Dems try raising stakes in Omaha-based Nebraska 2nd

 The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.
The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.

Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:

Nebraska 2nd – Rep. Lee Terry is seeking a 7th term
Primary: May 4, 2010
Location: Omaha area
Days until Election Day: 84

Democrats in Nebraska's 2nd district hope to pull off the kind of upset here in 2010 that President Obama did in 2008.

In the last presidential election, the Obama campaign invested resources in Omaha and the surrounding area and managed to carry the district 50 percent to 49 percent. The victory was a narrow one, but because Nebraska awards some electoral votes to the winners of individual congressional districts, Obama won one of the state's five electoral votes.

One near-casualty of this strategy was Republican Rep. Lee Terry, who was held to 52 percent of the vote in his re-election bid in this normally GOP-friendly region. Before taking his seat in Congress in 1999, Terry previously served on the Omaha City Council, where he served from 1991 to 1998. His father, Lee Terry Sr., was a local news anchor and an unsuccessful House candidate in the late 1970s.

The Democrat hoping to unseat Terry is Tom White, a state senator and attorney who was elected to Nebraska's unique non-partisan, unicameral legislature in 2006. The son of a former Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice, White focused on civil rights and workplace discrimination issues as an attorney.

Terry has roughly doubled what White has raised in contributions, both for the 2nd quarter and for the race overall. The incumbent Republican raised $1.2 million through the end of June, compared to $622,000 for White. White nonetheless has stayed competitive in terms of cash available to spend. As of mid-year, he had $532,000 in the bank compared to $787,000 for Terry.

Nebraska's 2nd district is located at the center of the state's eastern border. It is dominated by Omaha and the surrounding area. Prior to Obama's victory here in 2008, the district has consistently voted Republican in presidential elections.

Terry has shown vulnerability at the polls in recent years. He won his first two terms with 66 percent but has seen his winning percentages steadily decline with every election thereafter. Democrats' best hopes of defeating GOP incumbents are in districts that Obama carried in 2008, but the margin of victory in Nebraska 2nd was very slim, about 3,400 votes out of almost 300,000 cast. White is a credible candidate and so far has stayed competitive with Terry financially. Unseating a Republican incumbent in this GOP-leaning district without help from the top of the ballot will be a challenge, especially in a midterm year that historically has punished the party occupying the White House. An upset is still possible, but Democrats would have to invest considerable resources to do so in a year when they have dozens of vulnerable incumbents to defend.


Filed under: 2010 • CNN 100
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. dont care what you say

    wish I was black like obama then I could invite all my black friends to party on the tax payers dollars or send my wife and kid to spain on tax payers dollars or have all my cabinet be my broters and zisters and you could axe me to comb on overt to have a colt 45 and weed coollect welfare and doo nuting while the white man sueports ust. Time for obama the racists and muslim to go..,.

    August 9, 2010 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Many of us in the Nebraska second Congressional district were very proud to count ourselves on the Obama side of the slate in the last Presidential election. Lee Terry is an embarrassment to the state of Nebraska. The only time anyone hears anything from him is when he's up for re election. Other than that, a complete waste of taxpayer money. Now with the revelations of his lobbyist dating (no one here surprised, by the way!) and the fact that he is one of the top recipients of money from the oil companies, it is time for him to go. Seven terms from another term-limit Republican hypocrite.

    August 9, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. Troubled Independent

    So, the U.S. is in the biggest mess ever, and Obammie is out campaigning! Wow, what a great leader aka community organizer!

    August 9, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  4. Dennis

    When the Democratic Senator from Nebraks won't go along with Obama, I think the Democrats have a snowball's chance in this district.

    August 9, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. diridi

    if i were to vote, i vote for Dems...than thugs...like GOP guys...

    August 9, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    I do not care about what party you belong to! "We the People” got screwed again this time we need to make all of them pay with their jobs.
    Guess what Congress "You Are Fired!"
    This fall vote "No to incumbents"
    Fire All incumbents!
    Congress allowed the American people to lose their jobs, their life's savings and their retirement. And then made the American people pay to bailout the ones who were responsible for the crime.
    All while supporting the special interests, lobbyists, Big business and the wealthy.
    You know what Congress, welcome to the ranks of the unemployed.

    August 9, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Rushs unseen, unheard, staff are the people he has callin to his show

    Gee the state that is owned by insurance companies and big Agro?Good luck,Johnny Carson was the only good thing they ever produced.

    August 9, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    The time to clean up both The House and 1/3 the Senate is upon us. Don't vote for the party! It is time the people sent a message to Washington DC we reject politics as usual.
    Fire All incumbents!
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.
    This November tell Congress "You Are Fired!"
    Fire All Incumbents!
    On all levels of Government, I know everyone knows these federal and state fake representatives are crooks, but not my representative. Well I have news for you if your representative has been in and your taxes are going up, your state fees are going up and they were part of problem too.
    I do not care if you were the dog catcher if you are an incumbent welcome to the unemployment line with the rest of us.

    August 10, 2010 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  9. Lori in St Pete

    Chessnutz, many of those congress critters who allowed the American people to lose their jobs, their life's savings and their retirement were voted out of office in '06 & '08. The chipping away of jobs, savings and retirement plans began 3 decades ago. We finally reached a tipping point in the summer of 2008.

    Corporations (who, BTW enjoy a lower tax under President Obama than they have since the age of the original robber baron) chose to gut and bleed out the American worker because THEIR candidates were voted out of office. Workers were warned that if the dems took the majority, businesses would off-shore their jobs. Conglomo, Inc. blame unions (only 15% of American workers belong to unions – hardly enough to hold ANY political sway), regulations and taxes when the truth of the matter is it's THEIR greed that's hurtling us toward third world status. American workers can't live on $1 an hour, but that's what corporate America is demanding because that's what they're able to pay workers in third world cesspools.

    It's time for the government to hit these guys in the wallet and enact huge tarrifs that make offshoring jobs not worth the cost. Restart all of our manufacturing plants in the U.S. and start making high quality goods here, and add import tarrifs equal to the cost of American goods on ALL products that are manufactured by American corporations abroad. Conglomo, Inc. will soon find it's not worth the trouble to ship our jobs overseas.

    August 10, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. Go USA!

    Only a fool would vote GOP this fall...especially those who are determined to kill off the middle class.

    August 10, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    I see "Rushs unseen, unheard"@ showing off his dope crazed liberal elitist tendancies demeaning and degrading the honest, hadworking taxpayers of the great state of Nebraska. Sorry, we are not Harvard educated, community organizers and union shills bend on corrupting the country like all of you libertards seem to be. Go, Maxine, can't wait to see the show you put on this fall, it will show the true face of liberalism in all of its immoral, greedy, glory.

    August 10, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. SethC

    See I told you there would be die hards in the voting booths, they forget easily, or they are so dedicated to the party rather than the qualified person. My God have mercy!

    August 10, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Can't we all just get along?

    Keep the democrats in power. We've seen the utter disaster the Republicans do. We can't survive another round of that economically or diplomatically. It may take a decade to undo the damage of the Bush regime. The only way to do it is to oust the old school GOPers who thought Bush and Cheney walked on water and let them get away with crimes that they haven't been arrested and tried for.

    August 10, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. Obama mama

    Nebraska is too smart to vote in more Democrats. They've destroyed our economy during their last 4 years controlling both houses of Congress.

    Vote for fiscal responsibility, not for a democrat.

    August 10, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |