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Tea party’s Maxwell turns Omaha House race upside down

By   /   May 21, 2014  /   No Comments

By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Updated: 12 p.m.

Tea partyer Chip Maxwell is running for Congress with a “plan to save the country.”

He’s also turning the Omaha race upside down.

Chip Maxwell

Chip Maxwell

Maxwell, who needs 2,000 petition signatures to get his name on the November ballot as a non partisan candidate, says if elected he will “rejoin the Republican Party” and serve as a Republican in Congress.

Lee Terry

Lee Terry

Maxwell downplays what he calls “hysterical assertions.”

Democrats and their candidate Brad Ashford now see a clear path to victory — with Maxwell splitting the district’s conservative vote — over eight-term incumbent Republican Lee Terry.

According to Maxwell, a former state senator and Douglas County Commissioner, if Ashford wins don’t blame him, in effect blame Terry:

“I offer Republicans a candidate truly passionate about fighting for Republican values. If the Republicans complaining about my candidacy actually vote their alleged conservative convictions, they have no choice but to vote for me. If Ashford wins, it will be due to the-party-is-our-private-club Republicans who refuse to face the reality that it’s time to quit supporting an incumbent who is not the kind of Republican we need in the battle to get the country back on track.”

Maxwell is also ripping talk that he’s the fall-guy in a Dan Frei sour grapes scheme to take Terry out:

“There’s an allegation that Dan is orchestrating a grand plan and using me as a fallback dupe. He couldn’t beat Lee Terry in the primary (Frei lost a surprising close 53-47 battle), so he is convincing poor naive Maxwell to sacrifice himself and take Terry down with him in the general election, leaving a path to an open Republican nomination for Dan in 2016.”

Maxwell, who says he’s hoping for Frei’s endorsement, adds Frei had no idea Maxwell was planning a third-party attack.

Brad Ashford

Brad Ashford

“In December I told him I had decided not to run in the primary,” says Maxwell. “As far as Dan knew, that was it for me.”

As for his country-saving plan Maxwell did not release the details.

Contacted by Nebraska Watchdog, Ashford said Maxwell has a “thoughtful approach to issues” adding, “Congress is truly broken and my campaign is about how we fix it.”

Nebraska Watchdog: Are you concerned that Democrats will look at the race now and think “Maxwell is siphoning votes from Terry, the race is over Ashford wins.”

Brad Ashford: I think this energizes all voters, independents, Democrats and Republicans and hopefully there will be a big turnout.

The newest member of Terry’s campaign team, Ryan Horn—identified as a “strategist”—has issued a statement downplaying Maxwell’s impact on the race, along with both Maxwell’s and Ashford’s party hopping.

“The Second District has a clear choice between a candidate who is a proven fighter and delivers results or others who change their mind and political affiliation to suit their own electoral goals.”

Ashford has changed political parties several times—he started out as a Democrat before switching to the GOP in the mid-80’s. Then, just before launching his bid for mayor of Omaha last yearhford filed as an independent. After finishing 4th in a five-way race he went full circle back to the Democratic Party before announcing his run for Congress.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected] 

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Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.