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NRCC Throws Hail Mary in Nebraska House Race (Video)

Terry, center, faces a tough race in Nebraska this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Terry, center, faces a tough race in Nebraska this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s the Willie Horton ad of 2014.  

The National Republican Congressional Committee went up with an ad Friday tying the Democratic nominee in a competitive Nebraska House race to Nikko Jenkins, a former inmate convicted of murdering four people after his early release from jail.  

It’s an ad reminiscent of the Willie Horton spot former President George H.W. Bush ran in 1988, tying his Democratic opponent to a convicted murderer who raped a woman while on a weekend pass from prison.  

Republicans hope the Nikko Jenkins ad in the Omaha-based 2nd District will turn things around for Rep. Lee Terry, one of just two GOP House incumbents in a race rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.  

Privately, both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge Terry is down in polls to his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Brad Ashford. It’s almost exclusively thanks to Terry’s negative image among likely voters in the district, which voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by a 7-point margin in 2012.  

“From the political perspective, they have to make Brad Ashford unpalatable or untrustworthy at this point,” said one Nebraska Republican operative unaffiliated with the race. “It’s a tough race for Lee, but I think there’s a path to victory for him.”  

Terry is being haunted by comments he made last October. During the government shutdown, Terry said he would keep his congressional paycheck. Terry’s apologized for the remarks, but Democrats have hammered them on the airwaves in Omaha — a relatively inexpensive media market that blankets the entire district.  

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