Sabato's Crystal Ball

Nebraska (02) House 2010


Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely R

Democratic candidate: Tom White, State Senator

Republican candidate: Lee Terry, incumbent

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball


Six-term Republican Lee Terry is looking to defend his turf against a predicted difficult challenge from the left from respected state senator, Tom White. White has done a decent job thus far in his fundraising efforts for a non-incumbent, pulling in 176k in the 4th quarter of 2009 amidst the recession. Strong interest and aid from the Democratic National Committee has boosted his funds too, but unsurprisingly he still lags behind the incumbent.

While this historically Republican district has given George W. Bush two election victories of 18 percent or more, recent trends have indicated the residents are shifting away from their staunch conservative opinions. After a couple of impressive 25+ point victories in 2002 and 2004 over his Democratic opponents, Terry’s support has relatively fallen as his last election victory in 2008 was a mere 4 point squeaker—the smallest margin in over a decade. Some attribute the close race to Obama fever, since the current president scored a major upset in Nebraska in the general election with a narrow 1 percent victory over McCain. Whether Obama played a significant role in the pro-Democratic trend or not, today’s wave of anti-Democratic sentiment embodied in the Tea Party movement could perhaps reverse the decline for Republicans and enable Terry to hold on. Nebraska’s 2nd Likely Republican.