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Nebraska’s new congressional map preserves a politically competitive Omaha-area district held by Rep. Don Bacon, who was one of the rare Republicans elected by a constituency President Joe Biden carried in the 2020 election.
The new map, enacted by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) on Thursday, keeps Douglas County in and around Omaha wholly in the 2nd, which Bacon has represented since 2017. That district includes western Sarpy County south of Douglas and adds rural Saunders County to the west of Douglas and Sarpy.
The changes make the 2nd marginally better for Bacon and Republicans though Biden would have still carried the revised 2nd by close to the 6.5-percentage-point margin over Donald Trump that he garnered in the current district. Bacon was re-elected 51%-46% in 2020, winning almost 17,000 more votes than Trump in the 2nd. Bacon is one of only nine House Republicans from districts that voted Democratic for president.
“It’s going to be competitive. Don Bacon is a great incumbent and will do fine in that seat for as long as he decides to run,” Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, said in an interview.
Kelly Burton, the president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, praised Democrats in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature for thwarting a more aggressive Republican plan that would have divided Democratic-leaning Douglas County. While Republicans in effect lead the nonpartisan legislature, Democrats control enough votes to block the majority.
Democrats “forced a compromise between both parties, which led to a map that ensures Nebraska’s second congressional district will remain competitive in the House and in the Electoral College for the next decade,” Burton said in a statement.
The 2nd District may continue to be a focus of presidential election nominees. Nebraska and Maine are the only states that award electoral votes based on the winner in each congressional district.
Nebraska’s 1st District, held by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R), will continue to lean Republican and be anchored in Lancaster County in and around Lincoln. The 3rd District of Rep. Adrian Smith (R) will remain a Republican bastion that covers most of Nebraska’s land area.
Nebraska is the third state to complete congressional redistricting, following Oregon and Maine earlier this week.
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org