It’s imperative that Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race this year provide a strong, informative battle of ideas and values. The Republican incumbent, Sen. Ben Sasse, is seeking a second term. The Democratic candidate must present a coherent agenda and engage in focused, productive debate with Sasse on what our national priorities must be.
Chris Janicek, winner of the May 12 Democratic primary, can’t deliver that. He must step down so Sasse can face a capable challenger.
Janicek’s deplorable, sexually focused texts to a now-former female staffer show horrible personal judgment. His refusal to step down has sown tumult within the Democratic Party. His irresponsible actions have yanked the election away from the kind of serious debate on policy and values that voters deserve.
Consider just some of the major issues the Senate race must address: The Senate has key decisions on issues including health care, immigration policy, tax policy, the environment, national defense and foreign policy. We’re in midst of a much-needed and long-overdue national discussion over racial equality. It’s possible the fall elections will shift control of the Senate from the Republicans to the Democrats. And of course voters will be deciding the presidential contest.
The election also is a referendum on Sasse’s first term. How should Nebraskans judge his approach to his Senate service? What has he accomplished? Are his priorities those that best serve the state and nation? Has he shown the ability and willingness to work productively with fellow lawmakers, regardless of party, when possible?
A U.S. Senate election is a time for serious debate and serious candidates. Chris Janicek fails that important test.
For his own sake and the best interest of Nebraska, he must do the right thing. He must exit the election. Now.
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