Dem Recruit Launches Bid to Oust Nebraska’s Terry

Posted September 9, 2009 at 7:49pm

Tom White, a Democratic state senator, announced Wednesday that he is officially launching a high-profile challenge to six-term Republican Rep. Lee Terry in Nebraska’s 2nd District.

“No matter which party controls Congress, Nebraskans I’ve talked to feel the needs of ordinary Americans aren’t being met,” said White in his announcement speech. “I’ll be the independent, effective voice our community needs in Congress — someone who puts partisanship aside and shows leadership on issues like reducing the deficit, restoring fiscal responsibility, creating jobs, and increasing access to affordable health care.”

Last week, CQ Politics reported that it will be no easy road to victory for White, who formed an exploratory committee in July. Like the rest of Nebraska, the 2nd District — which includes Omaha and its suburbs — has a long history of Republican voting tendencies.

But Democratic strategists, who heavily recruited White, were emboldened by their recent progress in local politics. Terry, who previously had won comfortably, held on to defeat Democrat Jim Esch by just 4 percentage points in 2008 — the same year that Democrat Barack Obama narrowly won the district’s vote for president. That was followed by municipal elections earlier this year in which the Democrats won the mayor’s office and a city council majority in Omaha.