Ashford initially nonetheless recognized as a Democrat when he reached the formally nonpartisan state Senate, however information broke throughout his first months in workplace that he was contemplating rejoining the Republicans. He initially turned the GOP down solely to lastly make the soar in 1989, however he introduced the very subsequent day that he’d nonetheless serve on the finance committee for Kerrey’s finally victorious bid for the Senate. Ashford, who was a supporter of gun security measures throughout his time in workplace, later gave up his place within the legislature to run for Congress solely to badly lose the GOP main 53-25 to Jon Christensen, who went on to narrowly unseat Democratic incumbent Peter Hoagland that fall.
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Ashford, although, was removed from executed with politics. Daub, who was mayor of Omaha by this level, appointed him in 1996 to the Omaha Housing Authority, a physique Ashford would later chair. Ashford additionally initially supported Republican Chuck Hagel’s marketing campaign for the Senate that very same yr, however he introduced that he would now not again him after Hagel adopted extra conservative positions on abortion and gun questions of safety. “I believed Chuck Hagel would convey the get together to the middle and away from the right-wing in these points,” defined the previous state senator, including, “It’s very disappointing.”
Ashford, who remained energetic in native points throughout his day out of workplace, returned to the legislature in 2007, and he retained his picture as a average Republican. In late 2011, although, he introduced that he was giving up his get together affiliation altogether to develop into an unbiased, saying, “My political heroes all the time have been these individuals who work from the center in a collaborative method. Good concepts come from either side.” The state senator sought a promotion in 2013 when he challenged Omaha’s Democratic mayor, Jim Suttle, however he took a distant fourth within the nonpartisan main with 13%. (Republican Jean Stothert went on to unseat Suttle.)
Nonetheless, Ashford had another get together change forward of him months later. Democrats had been seeking to goal Rep. Lee Terry, who had solely received 51-49 in 2012 whilst Mitt Romney was carrying the 2nd District 53-46, and so they efficiently recruited Ashford after Omaha Metropolis Council President Pete Festersen dropped out. The newly-reminted Democrat had a really robust process forward of him, particularly because the political local weather worsened for Staff Blue, however Terry, who had declared in the course of the 2013 authorities shutdown that he would preserve taking his wage as a result of “I’ve obtained a pleasant home and a child in school,” proved to be an particularly weak incumbent.
This contest attracted over $1 million from outdoors teams on either side, and Republicans sought to guard their endangered incumbent by portraying Ashford as weak on crime. The GOP ran advert after advert charging that Ashford supported a legislation that may enable a Black inmate named Nikko Jenkins to get out of jail early for homicide, messaging that Democrats in contrast with George H.W. Bush’s still-infamous Willie Horton adverts. Jenkins, although, gave Terry probably the most undesirable endorsement conceivable, although, when he used a listening to to proclaim, “Hey you guys, vote for Lee Terry! Greatest Republican ever!” Ashford, who campaigned as a centrist, finally unseated Terry 49-46, giving Democrats a uncommon pickup on an total terrible night time.
The brand new congressman instantly was one of many GOP’s high 2016 targets, however this time, he had a a lot harder foe than Terry. Staff Pink nominated former Air Power Brig. Normal Don Bacon, who unseated Ashford 49-48 as Donald Trump was carrying the seat 48-46. Ashford sought a rematch in 2018, however whereas he as soon as once more had the assist of nationwide Democrats, nonprofit head Kara Eastman put up an unexpectedly robust battle within the main. Eastman, who ran to Ashford’s left, ran adverts saying that she was bored with listening to that Democrats do not stand for something, and he or she upset him 52-48 earlier than narrowly shedding to Bacon.
Eastman ran once more in 2020, and he or she simply received the nomination towards the previous congressman’s spouse, Ann Ferlic Ashford. Nonetheless, whereas Democrats hoped that Eastman might end the job within the fall, Brad Ashford as soon as once more defied his get together by endorsing Bacon and even starring in considered one of his commercials. Ashford’s seal of approval probably gave Bacon a lift, as he fended off Eastman 51-46 whilst Joe Biden was profitable the district 52-46.