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A Report From Nebraska

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Chris Vallance | 21:07 UK time, Wednesday, 1 November 2006

We've asked you to help us with our coverage and this personal account of the race in Nebraska by one of our Citizen Reporters Lindsay O'Brien really gives a flavour of a place:

lindsay.JPGNebraska's third district is part of what is often called "The Heart
of America." In the American psyche, this place embodies the American
ideal - family farms homesteaded on wide open spaces, small close-knit
communities, and unwavering patriotism. Unfortunatly, this way of
life is fading quickly. Family farms and ranches are finding it
harder and harder to compete with corporate farms, and are quickly
going under. Job opportunities have become scarce in small
communities, and many young people who go off to university in the
larger towns and cities often never come back. Some of the United
States poorest counties are in Nebraska's 3rd congressional district,
and with poverty comes familial and social breakdown. It seems as if
the unwavering patriotism is being questioned now as well.

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For the first time since 1964 there is a strong democratic candidate
vying for this congressional seat, which has been part of the GOP's
traditional strongholds. Scott Kleeb, the Democratic candidate is up
against Adrian Smith, a former state senator. There has been apparent
concern within the Republican party about this race. Many local
Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans see Kleeb as a
candidate whose concern would be with issues important to Nebraska, not
necessarily to the Democratic party. Republicans in the district are
mainly concerned with Democrats gaining power in the House of
Representatives, and the main reason for voting for Smith would be to
maintain House control to the Republicans. Today, it was announced
that President Bush would be coming to the district to make a speech
on Smith's behalf. It seems as if the GOP feels there is a lot at
stake if they should lose one of their most conservative districts to
a candidate from the Democratic Party.


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