Prominent Nebraska Republicans have backed a primary challenger to Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who is seeking reelection as he faces federal charges.
Republicans in the state expressed concern that the scandal surrounding Fortenberry could cost the party a once-safe seat. House Republicans would need to net just five seats in the 435-seat chamber to win back a majority they lost in 2018. Should Republicans lose control of Fortenberry’s seat, it would give Democrats an unexpected gain in their efforts to maintain control of the House.
Fortenberry, who has held the 1st Congressional District since 2005, was charged in October with lying to the FBI during its investigation into illegal campaign contributions from Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian billionaire. A federal judge denied Fortenberry’s request to dismiss the charges earlier this month. He is scheduled to face trial next month in Los Angeles.
He denied the allegations in October, calling himself “stunned” and saying he felt “so personally betrayed.”
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