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Nebraska Democrats endorse replacement for embattled nominee

August 25, 2020 GMT

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Democratic Party leaders have endorsed a former congressman to run as a write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate if their scandal-plagued nominee refuses to withdraw, party officials said Tuesday.

The party’s state central committee voted to endorse former Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford as long as nominee Chris Janicek stays in the race.

Committee members voted for the new endorsement because Janicek has repeatedly refused to leave despite making sexually offensive comments about a former campaign staffer in a group text message.

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Democratic leaders initially voted last month to endorse one of Janicek’s primary opponents, Alisha Shelton. But because Shelton was a candidate in the primary, Nebraska’s “sore loser” law prohibits her from running as a write-in candidate in the general election unless Janicek agrees to drop out by Sept. 1.

Party officials say they’ll still nominate Shelton if Janicek removes his name from the ballot, but that doesn’t appear likely. Janicek is set to debate incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse on Sept. 4.

Ashford is a former state lawmaker who served one term in the U.S. House, from 2015 to 2017. He lost the 2nd Congressional District seat to U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, a Republican.