Dem crashes House Republican's interview

Dem crashes House Republican's interview
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Freshman Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) had just wrapped up a workout at his local gym, Prairie Life Fitness, when he spotted his GOP opponent holding court before a bank of TV cameras.

So Ashford strolled over and crashed the interview, triggering an impromptu debate with Republican challenger Don Bacon in a downtown Omaha sidewalk. The mostly friendly exchange, caught on camera by local news outlets, came just moments after Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) left a luncheon fundraiser that hauled in $150,000 for Bacon.

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“We’re Nebraskans, so we can debate it and [be] friends,” Ashford, still holding his gym bag, told reporters Wednesday, according to KMTV in Omaha.

But he later wrapped his arm around Bacon’s shoulder and asked him: “How many times would you propose you were going to vote with the Democrats, working across the aisle?”

“Well, when it’s right, I would,” replied Bacon, a retired Air Force brigadier general. “But I guarantee it’s not 72 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi.”

Ashford didn’t meet with Ryan in Omaha, but he said he sent the Speaker a letter earlier that day asking him to support his bill to allow a private-public partnership to build a new Veterans Affairs clinic in Omaha.

“And I also wanted to talk to him about why we’re not in session” this summer, Ashford added, according to KETV. “Basically, seven weeks of not being in session is too long.”

After easily defeating his primary challenger last week, Ryan is turning his attention to preserving the GOP’s large House majority. He’ll spend the rest of August campaigning and fundraising for GOP candidates and vulnerable incumbents in states like Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New York.

Ashford, a former state lawmaker, is a rare GOP target in a year the party is trying to defend seats all over the map. Two years ago, Ashford knocked off incumbent Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) even though voters in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District favored Republican Mitt Romney over President Obama, 53 percent to 46 percent, in 2012.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report is projecting that Ashford’s seat is competitive but “leans Democratic.”