Rep. Bacon draws GOP challenger who moonlights as Darth Vader

Omaha IT professional Jim Schultze wants to curb national debt

By: - February 9, 2022 2:29 pm

This image, from Nebraska House candidate Jim Schultze’s Facebook page, shows him filing to run for office at the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office.

OMAHA — U.S. House candidate Jim Schultze wants to “Force choke” the national debt, and the Omaha Republican says he can do it without the Darth Vader suit he wears to Star Wars-themed events and appearances for kids.

The 40-year information technology professional said he saw former President Donald Trump’s statements seeking a GOP primary challenger in the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District against U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb.

“Anyone want to run for Congress against Don Bacon in Nebraska?” Trump wrote in a press release last month from his political committee, Save America PAC. 

“It reaffirmed what I was already thinking,” Schultze said of facing Bacon. “I was honestly waiting for someone else to take the lead that I could get behind. But that didn’t happen.”

Schultze said Bacon failed him for the last time by voting for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill President Joe Biden sought. Bacon was one of 13 House GOP members to support the bill.

“I was tired of sitting by and watching our country go downhill, further and further into debt,” Schultze said. “I thought, ‘Something needs to be done about it.’ “

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Bacon has defended his infrastructure vote, saying it will bring Nebraska $2.8 billion to rebuild roads and bridges, expand rural broadband, clean up local drinking water and more. 

Bacon’s campaign said Wednesday the congressman remains focused on serving constituents and the district. Nebraska’s 2nd District is the state’s most competitive. It covers all of Douglas County, including Omaha, and western Sarpy County. 

Said Bacon: “Our district clearly supports a conservative representative who seeks solutions ensuring our country remains the most competitive and strongest in the world.”

Schultze blamed Republicans and Democrats for the growing $27 trillion national debt. He said he would pursue a balanced budget without cutting national defense spending. 

He said he’d consider cutting whole federal departments and sending those functions back to the states and would consider changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“Nobody wants to make the hard choices, and there are hard choices that we have to make,” Schultze said. “Our federal debt is at an unsustainable level.”

Bacon co-sponsored a House resolution in 2017 calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Schultze, 61, said he does not believe Trump lost the 2020 election. Asked why, he cited reports that courts, states, election experts and Congress have rejected as false. Bacon has acknowledged that Biden won. 

Post-election data analysis by the Omaha World-Herald found a significant number of 2nd District Republicans voted for Bacon and Biden in 2020.

Schultze said he hopes to seek Trump’s endorsement. But he said that he hadn’t been recruited, hadn’t talked to anyone in Trump’s orbit and didn’t know how to reach them. 

This image, from Nebraska House candidate Jim Schultze’s personal Facebook page, shows him dressed as Darth Vader. He does appearances for kids and community events.

The Douglas County Republican Party, in a brief statement, described Bacon as a “solid conservative who enjoys strong support in our community.”

Outside politics, Schultze described himself as an amateur historian who likes to read about World War II and the Cold War. He gives tours on Saturdays at the Ashland-area Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum.

During his free time, Schultze dresses up as Darth in an authentic costume that covers his 6-foot-8 frame. He’s part of the 501st Legion, a global group of Star Wars fans with elaborate costumes.

“We make appearances for various fundraisers, disabled children with special needs,” he said. “It brings a lot of joy to me to bring a smile to a kid’s face for a few minutes.”

Schultze said he hopes to formally announce his campaign over the next two weeks. Bacon heads into the primary with more than $1 million in campaign cash on hand.

Bacon, reached Friday, laughed.

“I guess you should consider me Luke Skywalker,” he said, “because Luke Skywalker wins in the end, right?”

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Aaron Sanderford
Aaron Sanderford

Political reporter Aaron Sanderford has tackled various news roles in his 20-plus year career. He has reported on politics, crime, courts, government and business for the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star. He also worked as an assignment editor and editorial writer. He was an investigative reporter at KMTV.