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Republican state senator to challenge Fortenberry in primary

January 16, 2022 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Republican state senator and former speaker of the Legislature is challenging Congressman Jeff Fortenberry who is facing federal charges as he runs for re-election.

State Sen. Mike Flood announced Sunday that he will challenge Fortenberry in the state’s First Congressional District. Flood will face off against Fortenberry, who has held the seat since 2005, in the May primary. Flood said the charges against Fortenberry are part of why he is running.

“If our Republican nominee is waging a battle against prosecutors in a courtroom out of state instead of campaigning here in the 1st District, this seat is in jeopardy,” Flood said during his announcement in the state capitol.

Fortenberry has pleaded not guilty to allegations that he misled federal authorities who were investigating an illegal donation to his campaign from a foreign national in 2016. He officially announced that he was running for re-election last week.

Flood is a lawyer from Norfolk in northeast Nebraska who owns and operates a network of radio and television stations that combine into a statewide media network called “News Channel Nebraska.”

Fortenberry was already facing a challenge from Democratic State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks.