LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's three Republican congressmen are seeking re-election in races that have focused on the economy, the nation's debt and partisanship.
Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith are big favorites to win re-election on Nov. 6, reflecting their overwhelming victories in the past and the Republican dominance in their districts, which cover most of the state.
The vote will likely be closer in the 2nd Congressional District, where seven-term Rep. Lee Terry faces Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing.
Terry has repeatedly beat Democrats in the Omaha-centered district, and he got a boost before this election when Republican lawmakers redrew the district's boundaries to exclude Offutt Air Force Base and the city of Bellevue — an area with a significant minority population. They added in some Republican-heavy Sarpy County suburbs.
John Hibbing, a University of Nebraska at Omaha political science professor, said Democrats have a better chance in the 2nd district than elsewhere in Nebraska. But he notes that despite past optimism, Terry has ultimately prevailed.
"Every election, the Democrats think they have a chance at Terry, and they never do," Hibbing said.
Here is a summary of each race:
1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry is an overwhelming favorite in his race for a fifth term in Congress representing the eastern Nebraska district.
Fortenberry won re-election in 2010 with 71 percent of the vote and easily defeated two challengers in the May Republican primary. He's now facing Democrat Korey Reiman, a Lincoln defense attorney.
The race has remained low-key, and there have been no debates.
Fortenberry has emphasized the need to reduce the nation's debt, and in an indication of his strong support, he asked anti-tax activist Grover Norquist to remove his name from the list of those who promise to never increase taxes. Most Republicans, including Nebraska U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer, have signed the pledge.
Fortenberry also has called repeatedly for Congress to seek consensus and approve a federal farm bill.
Reiman has focused on his upbringing on a southeast Nebraska farm and highlighted his work representing disabled veterans in court. He's called for reducing the deficit and control spending.
Fortenberry has raised much more campaign money and had $817,126 in cash-on-hand at the end of September. Reiman had $2,758 on-hand at the same reporting deadline, according to the Federal Election Commission.
The incumbent congressman has also spent time helping other candidates. Earlier this month, he traveled to Ohio to campaign for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Nebraska's Omaha-centered 2nd district usually is the only one where a Democrat is given any chance at winning a seat in Congress.