Longtime Nebraskan lawmaker Brad Ashford dies

Brad Ashford, who served a short time in the House of Representatives after years in Nebraska’s state legislature, has died. He was 72.

The longtime lawmaker, who was known for his moderate politics, died of brain cancer, the AP reported.

Nebraska lawmaker Brad Ashford dies

Ashford’s family released a statement on his tragic, “premature” passing. He had only shared his diagnosis two months ago.

“He loved you all so much and the time you have taken these past two months to visit, call, write, or text have meant the world to him and to us,” the post read in part.

The political moderate began his career as a Democratic state legislator in the 1980s. In 1994, he failed in his first bid to be a U.S. Representative after losing a Republican primary to Jon Christensen. Ashford returned to the state legislature in 2007 and served another two terms.

In 2014, Ashford won the election to Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district as a Democrat, defeating Republican Lee Terry.

He lost re-election in 2016 to Republican Don Bacon. Ashford attempted to re-take the seat in 2018 but lost in a Democratic primary to Kara Eastman. In 2020, Ashford endorsed Bacon over Eastman.

“Giant” of Omaha

Tributes poured out for Ashford, including from Bacon, who called Ashford a “giant.”

“I admired his decades of service and the wisdom that came with it. I am a better person and representative because of the influence of Brad. I’ll miss him tremendously, and I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity for his friendship,” Bacon said.

Nebraska’s Republican Governor Pete Ricketts called Ashford a “dedicated public servant,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) was among those who praised his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“In the halls of Congress, he was widely respected as a serious legislator with a special ability to rise above partisan politics, build consensus and get things done,” Pelosi said.

The Omaha native studied law in his hometown at Creighton University. He is survived by his wife, three children, and a granddaughter.

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