OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – In Douglas County, 1,600 Democrats changed their party affiliation to Republican or nonpartisan ahead of the May 10 primary election.
“The dynamic is we don’t really have a lot of a contested primary at the top of the ticket, Carol Blood is going to continue to be the Democratic candidate, on the other side it’s a very heated primary, and people are worried,” , says CJ King, chairman of the Douglas County Democratic Party “I really believe that they are switching parties to vote against someone, not for someone”
Five days before the primary, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carol Blood said she herself would never switch parties, but she understands the thought process.
“I don’t blame people for exercising their ability to do anything, vote under whatever ticket they choose, whatever party they choose, but at the end of the day there will be collateral damage and that’s what it is,” she said.
This collateral damage will impact candidates like her as well as congressional candidates.
She says the damage will be felt in ways voters don’t realize.
“So what that means for candidates who are running statewide or for Congress is that when these outside organizations that come in with funding to help you advance in the general election, they’re going to look how many votes you brought to the table and so that skews the numbers and it actually hurts the candidates that you’re going to end up supporting in the general election,” Blood says.
Blood and King say they don’t believe it’s worth switching parties and missing the Democratic vote for the 2nd congressional district.
On the state ticket, the Democratic Party has no one in four of the five races – secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general and auditor of public accounts.
Could this be a reason Democrats are switching parties? Experts probably say no.
Randy Adkins, a professor of political science at the UN, says voters likely change because of the governor’s race.
Adkins says the Republican primary will most likely determine Nebraska’s next governor, and Democratic and nonpartisan voters perceive a big difference between Republican candidates. The more they perceive the difference, the more likely they are to want to vote, he says.
“The honest answer is that it definitely doesn’t help, but to what extent is it more important? It’s not what I was told,” King says. talked about is their distaste for certain Republican Party candidates, I’m just being candid. That’s just the answer I hear from people.
For many voters, however, it’s not just about the governor’s race and the state ticket.
“Really, when you’re talking about county offices, there’s no Democratic or Republican way to run those offices successfully, there’s only one effective way,” says Diane Battiato.
Battiato has been the Douglas County Deeds Assessor and Registry since 2004. This year Battiato is retiring and his preferred successor, Brian Grimm, is a Republican.
But Battiato says partisanship is a hindrance at the local level, and local government has a more complex impact on our community and our daily lives.
“I switched parties to help the most qualified and experienced candidate I could [and] to ensure the continued success of my offices,” she says.
The Douglas State and County Democratic parties say they are confident their voters will return to their party after the primary, and they also hope to welcome a group of Republican voters.
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