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5 things to watch for in Nebraska after Tuesday’s election

November 9, 2018

Most of the votes have been counted, victory speeches have been given and consolation drinks have been downed.

Barring a few races, Nebraskans know who will be representing them in various offices.

So, what’s next? Here are five things to keep an eye on in coming months.

Property taxes

State candidates across the board report that reducing property taxes is the major issue on voters’ minds. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who won a second term Tuesday, has said it’s his top priority. But state lawmakers have so far been unable to come to an agreement on how tax relief should be implemented. And they’ll be grappling with Medicaid expansion as well. Will the Legislature and Ricketts be able to address property taxes anytime soon?

Medicaid

Speaking of Medicaid, the expansion passed despite opposition from Ricketts and other Republicans. How will Ricketts and legislative leaders who opposed the expansion of health care for more lower-income Nebraskans implement the voters’ will?

Democratic infighting

Democrat Kara Eastman’s primary victory over moderate former Rep. Brad Ashford exposed some schisms within Nebraska Democrats. Tuesday, Eastman lost by 4 percentage points — the widest 2nd District margin in recent elections. Will Nebraska Democrats be able to come together? And can they find a way to start winning statewide and federal offices in Nebraska?

New Legislature

Former State Sen. Steve Lathrop, a Democratic heavy hitter, will retake his old seat after beating Republican incumbent Merv Riepe. Fellow incumbent State Sen. Laura Ebke, a Libertarian, also lost her seat. Depending on final vote tallies, Democrats could flip another seat as well. Will those changes and other new faces change the dynamic of the Nebraska Legislature?

New Congress

Nebraska is returning its delegation to Congress, but it’ll be to a new House of Representatives led by Democrats. How will Nebraska fare when all three House members are in the minority party?

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