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Nebraska to hold double U.S. Senate elections

Your guide to the 2024 vote

Nebraska State Capitol building in downtown Lincoln halbergman/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Nebraska to hold double U.S. Senate elections


Voter makeup: Thousands fewer Nebraskans are registered to vote this year than in 2020. According to Secretary of State Robert B. Evnen, 1,232,411 people were registered to vote in May 2024, compared to about 1,266,000 in 2020. Evnen noted this is likely a result of removing people from voter rolls if they haven’t voted in the last two elections. Republicans comprise about 50 percent of registered voters. The GOP controls the governorship, secretary of state, attorney general’s office, and the state legislature. About 27 percent of Nebraskans vote Democratic, and almost 22 percent of voters are unaffiliated. The number of unaffiliated voters nearly doubled since 1998. A smattering of voters are registered as Libertarians or with the Legal Marijuana NOW party.

Voting: As of June 2023, voters must present a state ID to vote or write their ID number on the form to request a ballot by mail. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot without providing a reason, and early voting ballots must be received by the time the polls close.

PRESIDENTIAL: Primary voter turnout was lower than the secretary of state predicted. A little more than a quarter of registered voters participated. President Joe Biden won 87.6 percent of the Democratic vote, while former President Donald Trump earned 79.6 percent of the Republican vote. Nikki Haley, who has since dropped out of the race and endorsed Trump, received 17.8 percent. Nebraska is one of two states that can split its five electoral votes between candidates. Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District is home to the state’s largest city, Omaha, and awards a single electoral vote. Biden won the district in 2020—one of only two times since 1991 that Democrats have won the Omaha vote.


  • Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican, is seeking a third term. She is a senior Senate Armed Services Committee member and told voters she will focus on national and local security. Fischer, 73, has previously supported providing foreign aid to Ukraine, though she walked out in protest of a classified briefing about a national security supplemental package for Ukraine and Israel in early December 2023. She told reporters the administration was offering repetitive answers to the conflict in Ukraine while refusing to address the U.S.-Mexico border. Fischer voted no on a $95.3 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan in February. She won her Senate race in 2018 by almost 20 points

  • Dan Osborn, 49, an independent candidate from Omaha, rebuffed the state Democratic Party’s endorsement. The union leader is known for leading a 77-day strike against Kellogg’s and said he will be a “champion for all working people in Nebraska.” Nebraska State AFL-CIO, a large group of unions, endorsed Osborn. Currently there is no Democratic candidate challenging Fischer, though state party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb said party leaders are leaving the door open for a write-in candidate.

  • Special election: Nebraska is the only state with both Senate seats on the ballot this year. A special election will fill the seat Republican Ben Sasse vacated last year when he took a job as president of the University of Florida. Republican Gov. Jim Pillen appointed two-term former Gov. Pete Ricketts, 59, to fill the seat, so the race will determine who holds office for the final two years of the term. Ricketts will square off against Democrat Preston Love Jr., 81, a civil rights activist from North Omaha. Love managed Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign in 1984 and has advocated for prison reform.


Democratic state Sen. Carol Blood, 63, is facing off in the 1st District against incumbent Republican Mike Flood, 49, who is favored to hold onto the seat. In the 2nd District, Rep. Don Bacon, 60, the Republican incumbent, is again facing Democrat Tony Vargas, 39. Bacon defeated Vargas in 2022 by three percentage points. Republican Adrian Smith, 53, is running uncontested in the 3rd District.


One of the seven seats on the Nebraska Supreme Court is up for a nonpartisan retention election. Former Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Stephanie Stacy to the bench, whose term expires in January. Once they have been on the bench for three years, justices must run in a yes-no retention election. Their subsequent terms last six years. Six of the justices were appointed by Republican governors and one was appointed by a Democratic governor.

Dig deeper:

  • Listen to Carolina Lumetta’s interview with Sen. Pete Ricketts in Washington.

  • Christina Grube covers a Nebraska bill protecting girls’ sports from participation by males.

  • Listen to Leah Savasreport on priorities of pro-life governors in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and Alabama.

Visit the WORLD Election Center 2024 to follow our state-by-state coverage between now and November.

Addie Offereins

Addie is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty fighting and immigration. She is a graduate of Westmont College and the World Journalism Institute. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Ben.

This keeps me from having to slog through digital miles of other news sites. —Nick

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