Ashford, Eastman campaign on eve of Nebraska primary

Published: May. 11, 2020 at 6:39 PM CDT
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A number of polling sites will be open tomorrow like in any election.

The safety of the public and poll workers is top of mind.

That said, most people got an early ballot and either mailed it in or dropped it off.

As the Douglas County Elections Commission fires up its counting machines, it’s one of the few normal signs this election season.

Kara Eastman, a Democrat candidate for the U.S. Congress seat for Nebraska District 2, was asked if she is knocking on any doors.

“We are not knocking on any doors right now. We don’t think it would be safe for our team or the voters in our district,” she said.

Ann Ashford, a democratic candidate for the same seat, was asked how many doors would she be knocking on.

“Tens of thousands. Everyone we could get to. So we’re trying to do it by phone calls instead,” Ashford said.

Eastman won the Democratic primary two years ago but lost by two percentage points to U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a republican.

Ashford is looking to reclaim a seat once held by her husband, Brad Ashford. She has some legacy democrats behind her such as Ben Nelson and Bob Kerrey, both former U.S. senators and Nebraska governors.

“We only have four living democrats who have held elected federal office from Nebraska. And all four of them have endorsed me,” Ashford said.

Eastman believes her ideas are what connected to voters last time around -- and the current U.S. Congress has forgotten about the little guy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are such a crucial part of lives and the fabric of our community. They need to be prioritized,” Eastman said.

The third Democrat in the race is small business owner Gladys Harrison, who runs Big Mama’s Kitchen.

Harrison was unavailable for an interview Monday. She said she was too busy with payroll and cleaning up software issues with online ordering.

The other candidates both believe the big numbers of early voters benefit them.

“I have realistic solutions. People don’t want pie in the sky campaign slogans. They’re seeing that doesn’t work and doesn’t get us elected. They want someone to go to work and achieve something real,” Ashford said.

“There’s nothing more important than this election and getting new leadership. People aren’t paying as much attention as they would in a normal year,” Eastman said.

Both Eastman and Ashford said they always liked the time-tested tradition of voting in person. But this year -- they both voted by mail.