LINCOLN — State Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha, thought to be a possible challenger to U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, said Thursday he’s skipping the race.
Ashford switched his political affiliation in August so he would be eligible to run as a Democrat and, at times, sounded like he was going to run against Terry, a Republican.
But the veteran state senator, who is term limited in 2014, said Thursday he’s too busy trying to draw up legislation to address state prison issues during his final legislative session to run.
“I’ve got to get this done,” he said of prison reform efforts. “It’s always been my dream to get another shot at Congress. But I’ve got to devote 100 percent of my time to this.”
Ashford is the second Democrat to decide against entering the race in the past two months. Omaha City Council member Pete Festersen announced that he wasn’t running in August.
Ashford, 63, has been a state lawmaker for 19 years and heads the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, which handles crime and punishment issues. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for Congress in 1994. He placed fourth in the Omaha mayoral race this spring, running as an independent, but said Thursday he felt he could win a race for Congress.
Earlier this year, Ashford also was mentioned as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate.
He was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 1986 as a Democrat, then switched to the Republican Party in 1988. In 2011, he changed his registration to nonpartisan.