Strong showing for female candidates in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) — In November, Democrats hope to flip two-dozen seats to win back the House. Female candidates this week have had a strong showing in four state primaries. One of those races was right here in Omaha.

Thirty-two years ago Nebraska voters put Kay Orr in the governor’s seat, the first Republican governor to be elected in the U.S. Her challenger that year was another woman.

Tuesday’s primary has many experts pointing to a national wave of women seeking higher office. As Tuesday night became Wednesday morning, Kara Eastman watched as the last votes came in.

“I’m still a little overwhelmed and a little tired,” Eastman said. “We’ve got a general election to win.”

Eastman will take on Don Bacon who acknowledged the Second Congressional District has become one of the more competitive races in the country – bouncing between a Republican and Democrat winner since 2014.

“I was the only Republican to defeat a Democratic incumbent last cycle. I think it’s because I know how to work hard,” Bacon said.

Eastman and Bacon have something in common. They’ve both beaten Brad Ashford.

After her primary win, Kara Eastman is being mentioned as part of a female wave of candidates for office.

“There are more women candidates running for office than we’ve seen in previous election cycles across the country. I think the other thing is the women are very well-qualified. They are good, quality candidates. They have political experience with the right kind of background and education to go into public service,” said Randy Adkins, UNO Political Science professor.

It’s certain Nebraska will have a female U.S. Senator. It will either be the republican incumbent Deb Fischer – or her democratic challenger Jane Raybould.

Before Nebraska’s first female governor — there was Virginia Smith. She represented western Nebraska in Congress from 1975-1991. The first woman from Nebraska to hold a seat in the U.S. House.