(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Republican candidates in Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District primary race traded sharp political attacks in new campaign ads launched Wednesday.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry charged in a radio ad that his main rival, State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, shares the same views on immigration as President Joe Biden, a Democrat the ad blames for a “flood of immigrants” at the border.
“Flood supported giving taxpayer funded benefits to illegal immigrants, and Flood tried to raise our gas taxes by 30 cents a gallon,” said Fortenberry’s ad.
Flood, in a new television ad, features a rural sheriff, Todd Volk of Madison County, saying that Fortenberry has “lied” about the state senator’s record on immigration and law and order.
“The truth? Mike is a law and order conservative,” Volk said. “He opposed instate tuition for illegal immigrants.”
Flood’s recent announcement that he will challenge Fortenberry has ramped up the race in the eastern Nebraska district.
Fortenberry, who has represented the district since 2005, is fighting for his political life after being charged with three felony counts alleging that he misled federal investigators probing illegal campaign contributions from a foreigner.
Flood’s new ad leads by reminding voters of the criminal indictments. The state senator, as well as Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman, have said Republicans risk losing the 1st District seat if Fortenberry is the nominee.
Fortenberry, meanwhile, has denied the prosecutors’ allegation and has insisted that he continues to “fight” for his issues, despite temporarily stepping down from committee work in the House.
The congressman has attacked Flood for leading the effort, and siding with liberal groups, to override the 2012 veto by Heineman of a bill that provided state-paid prenatal care for immigrants. Their children become U.S. citizens upon birth.
Flood argued it was a pro-life imperative to provide the care because it would prevent costly birth defects. He added that his effort was backed by Nebraska’s leading right-to-life organizations.
In a related development, federal prosecutors just filed an objection to a request by Fortenberry’s lawyers to move his trial out of California and to Nebraska, where COVID-19 restrictions have not shut down trials.
Prosecutors, in a brief filed Tuesday, said Fortenberry has relied on “unsupported generalizations” in arguing that he wouldn’t get a fair trial before a “heavily Democratic” California jury.
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