Republican Dan Frei will take on Lee Terry in District 2 -
Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 12:45 am
US. House Race
Republican Dan Frei will take on Lee Terry in District 2

U.S. Rep. Lee Terry has picked up another challenger: a fellow Republican who says Terry is a “decent guy” but who has failed as a leader in Congress.

Omaha businessman Dan Frei, 50, described himself as a “constitutional conservative” who opposed the Bush administration's controversial bank-bailout bill known as TARP and who respects Republican congressional firebrand Steve King of Iowa.

Although he holds strong conservative beliefs, Frei said that if he's elected, he will not be beholden to any political party. He said he hopes to work with people on both sides of the aisle to find solutions.

“It's leadership. I want someone that will go and truly be the voice of Nebraskans rather than go to Washington, D.C., and line up with the party and then follow marching orders,” said Frei, whose campaign website was expected to go up Monday.

Frei is the second person this year — and the first Republican — to challenge Terry, who is considered one of the GOP's most vulnerable House incumbents.

Last month Democrat Pete Festersen said he planned to run, citing frustration with Terry over the partial federal shutdown. Also, Republican Chip Maxwell has said he is considering challenging the congressman.

Terry is one of several Republicans nationally who represent swing districts and who are feeling the heat over voter disapproval with Congress. Most notably, Terry came in for national criticism during the shutdown after he angered many by initially refusing to delay his paycheck, saying he couldn't afford it because he had a “nice house” and a child in college.

He later apologized.

This isn't the first time Terry has faced competition from the right wing of his own party, especially since the birth of the Tea Party movement.

In 2012, four Republicans sought to unseat Terry in the GOP primary. Terry won handily with 60 percent of the vote.

Two years earlier, a Tea Party-inspired candidate, Matt Sakalosky, also challenged Terry and garnered 37 percent of the primary vote.

Frei — whose name is pronounced like “fry” — said he supported Sakalosky in that election.

Frei is vice president of Kingston Training Group, an information technology company. He says the bulk of his adult career has been in sales, helping businesses organize and manage paper as well as computer data. He has worked in executive positions with Canon USA, Sharp Electronics and Kyocera Corp.

Frei hails from a suburb near Dayton, Ohio. He moved to Omaha with his family 19 years ago. At the time, his child was sick and needed treatment at Children's Hospital & Medical Center, and Frei had been offered a job in the city. His son recovered fully a year later, and, Frei said, by that time the family had “fallen in love” with Omaha.

Frei said he has had a lifelong interest in politics, but became much more active during the waning days of President George W. Bush's administration.

At the time, Frei said, he was frustrated with Bush's stimulus package for the economy and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, calling it a “mass expansion” of government. Terry voted for that bill.

“I'm a constitutional conservative,” Frei said. “I'm a firm believer in a smaller government.”

Currently Frei serves on the Nebraska Republican Party's central committee.

Frei said he believes Terry and other Republicans did not show any real leadership during the partial federal government shutdown. He said he disagreed with the party's message during the shutdown, although he agreed with the ultimate goal of defunding President Barack Obama's health care law.

He said Republicans should have pushed for a “delay” of the 2010 law, with the goal of persuading a majority of lawmakers to scrap the law in the future.

“When you have Republicans line up and say, 'We're going to shut down the government if you don't defund it,' that was the wrong message. They should have said 'This isn't ready for prime time; we need to delay this,' ” Frei said.

When asked for a current congressmen he respects, Frei cited King, a staunch Republican who has been a prominent opponent of Obama and who is known for his fiery rhetoric.

“He's a good, principled conservative who believes in smaller government,” Frei said.

Contact the writer: Robynn Tysver    |   402-444-1309    |  

Robynn is's elections writer. She's covered presidential politics in Iowa's caucuses, and gubernatorial and Senate races in Nebraska.

Sole big donor to Beau McCoy says he expects nothing in return
Firefighters battle brush fire near Fontenelle Forest
Omaha police investigate two shootings
Sioux City riverboat casino prepares to close, still hoping to be saved
Omaha high schoolers to help canvass for Heartland 2050
Mizzou alumni aim to attract veterinary students to Henry Doorly Zoo
Grant ensures that Sioux City can start building children's museum
Party looks to 'nudge' women into public office in Iowa
For birthday, Brownell-Talbot student opts to give, not get
Two taken to hospital after fire at Benson home
Grace: Pipe organ concert a tribute to couple's enduring love
Omaha-area jails and ERs new front line in battling mental illness
Convicted killer Nikko Jenkins might await his sentence in prison
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
Civil rights hearing to consider voting policies in Midwest
17 senators in Nebraska Legislature hit their (term) limits
It's a pursuit of pastel at Spring Lake Park's Easter egg hunt
Financial picture improving for city-owned Mid-America Center
No injuries after fire at midtown's old Mercer Mansion
29-year-old Omahan arrested for 22nd time in Lincoln
Police: Slaying of woman in Ralston apartment likely over drugs
Explosion near 29th, Woolworth damages vehicles
Omaha police arrest man, 19, accused in March shooting
Earth gets its day in the sun at Elmwood Park
Beau McCoy strikes Obama doll in TV ad; Democrats are not happy
< >
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Dickson’s Week in Review, April 13-19
On Twitter some guy tweeted that the spring game isn’t taken as seriously as a regular-season contest. What was your first clue? When the head coach entered waving a cat aloft?
Kelly: A California university president returns to her Nebraska roots on Ivy Day
The main speaker at today's Ivy Day celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a college president who grew up roping calves and earned her Ph.D. at the prestigious Oxford University in England.
Breaking Brad: Stuck in a claw machine? You get no Easter candy
I know of one kid in Lincoln who will be receiving a lump of coal from the Easter Bunny, just as soon as he's extricated from that bowling alley claw machine.
Breaking Brad: Mountain lion season's over, but the bunny's fair game!
Thursday was the last day of a Nebraska Legislature session. Before leaving town, legislators passed a bill to hold a lottery to hunt the Easter Bunny.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »