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Election 2022: What if Fortenberry gets re-elected?

Here’s how Nebraska 1st Congressional district scenarios could play out.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:59 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As voters across the state cast their ballots or prepare to do so on Tuesday, there’s one race on the ballot for Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District that, on paper, presents a conundrum for those voters.

Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s name is on the ballot. The Congressman resigned following his conviction for lying to the FBI, but not before the deadline to remove a name from local ballots.

If 1st District voters still see fit to “re-elect” him in Tuesday’s primary, Fortenberry’s name will appear on the November ballot — unless he withdraws his name by Aug. 1. He could also decline the nomination. Otherwise, it would force any other Republican wishing to run for the office to mount a write-in campaign.

Running against Fortenberry in the Republican primary are: Mike Flood, who was endorsed by Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman; as well as Curtis D. Huffman, Thireena Yuki Connely, and John Glen Weaver.

If Fortenberry, who served in Congress from January 2005 until resigning on March 31 of this year, goes on to win the general election, he can still serve in Congress. His conviction — which he’s fighting — doesn’t prohibit him from holding office. While the Constitution allows a convicted felon to serve, the House could expel him.

Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, 1st District voters will be called to the polls once again next month to pick someone to serve out the last few months of Fortenberry’s term: The special election in June to replace Jeff Fortenberry’s term is June 28, the same day as his sentencing in Los Angeles. Nebraska’s Democratic and Republican parties were each allowed to choose a candidate to appear on that ballot. Dems chose Patty Pansing Brooks, and Republicans selected Mike Flood.

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