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The Case Against Don Bacon

“Don Bacon will do whatever it takes to gain power and protect his political career, even falling in line with Trump’s MAGA agenda when it hurts Nebraska families. Nebraskans are sick and tired of having a representative who is making it harder for middle class families to get ahead, and trying to control their personal health care decisions. Tony Vargas is the only candidate in the race who will stand up to both parties to do what’s right for Nebraskans, work to lower costs for hard working families, and protect reproductive freedom,” said DCCC Chair Suzan DelBene. 

To: Interested Parties
From: Mallory Payne, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: May 14, 2024
Subject: The Case Against Don Bacon

After coming within 2.7 points of unseating Don Bacon last cycle, Tony Vargas is ready to finish the job in 2024. Two things are clear after tonight’s primary election: Don Bacon has never been more vulnerable, and Tony has the momentum to win in November.

Bacon cares more about protecting his political career than doing the right thing for Nebraska families. That’s why he refuses to stand up to Trump and his MAGA agenda, no matter how much it hurts Nebraskans – from championing a total national abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the woman’s life; to giving tax handouts to corporations and the ultra-rich that would raise taxes on middle class families; to voting against bipartisan common sense gun safety measures; to voting to gut quality, affordable health care and repeal protections for people with preexisting conditions.

Tony Vargas has spent his life serving his community – as a teacher, an Omaha Public Schools Board member, and a Nebraska State Senator. Born to working class parents who were able to move into the middle class thanks to a good union job, Tony understands how important it is to help Nebraska families get ahead. Unlike Don Bacon, Tony always puts Nebraskans first.

In the state legislature, Tony has a record of fighting for reproductive freedom, bucking his party to pass the two largest property tax cuts in state history, creating good-paying jobs, and increasing funding for law enforcement. In Congress, he’ll continue that record of success.

Nebraskans know that only one candidate in the race is fighting for them. That’s why Bacon’s favorability is under water and Tony is leading in polling, including with nonpartisan voters. Tony continues to build grassroots momentum, outraising Bacon in multiple quarters, quickly catching up to his cash on hand, and starting voter outreach earlier than ever.

In a district that elected Joe Biden by 6 points in 2020, voters will be turning out in high numbers to reject Bacon’s and Trump’s MAGA agenda and elect a bipartisan leader like Tony Vargas.

Rightfully earning the title of one of the most extreme anti-abortion members of Congress, Don Bacon thinks politicians should make personal health care decisions for women.

Not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, Don Bacon co-sponsored the Life At Conception Act, a total nationwide abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the woman’s life. This legislation could also jeopardize Nebraskans’ access to fertility treatments and contraception.

Bacon has also backed efforts to punish doctors who perform abortions, block reproductive health care access for members of the armed services, and block funding for reproductive health care by forcing millions of women off their private health care plans.

Bacon’s anti-abortion position is out-of-touch with Nebraskans, who mobilized to defeat a draconian six-week abortion ban in their legislature last year, and he knows it. He’s so desperate to stay in Washington that he’s trying to mislead voters by claiming he supports a less restrictive ban (how generous). He’s even scrubbed anti-abortion language from his website, while still bragging to GOP primary voters that he is “defending the unborn by supporting pro-life policies” in Congress.

No matter what he says, his record makes it clear that he “prefer[s] a total abortion ban” with zero exceptions for rape, incest, and the woman’s life.

Terrified of jeopardizing his political career, Bacon doesn’t have the spine to stand up to Trump and MAGA Republicans.

After Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election and incited a violent Capitol insurrection that led to the death of multiple police officers, Bacon praised January 6th insurrectionists, calling them “patriots” and “outstanding, wonderful people” – even stating that “many of them are my friends.”

When House Republicans wasted time and taxpayers’ money launching a sham impeachment inquiry into President Biden, Bacon claimed to oppose it… until he became a loyal foot soldier for Trump and started helping his party bosses build support for it just a couple months later.

It’s the same reason why Bacon has endorsed Trump three times – he simply doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to his party and do the right thing for Nebraskans.

As Bacon sides with the most extreme members of his party, he’s harming Nebraska families.

Bacon didn’t hesitate to help pass Trump’s dangerously anti-middle class agenda – from the tax scam that gave handouts to corporations and would raise taxes on middle class families, to being a “hell yes” on gutting access to affordable health care and exposing over 295,000 Nebraskans with pre-existing conditions to loss of coverage.

In fact, MAGA Republicans can always count on Bacon to fall in line. He’s repeatedly jeopardized Social Security and Medicare, including calling for raising the retirement age. He voted against the CHIPS Act, which is keeping good-paying manufacturing jobs in Nebraska. Bacon even voted against legislation that will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs and has already capped the cost of insulin at $35 for many.

While Bacon puts his party’s extreme agenda first, Nebraska’s middle class families are left paying the price. In stark contrast, Tony has always fought to make life easier for families, even breaking with his party to cut taxes for hardworking Nebraskans.


Rolling Stone: Endangered Republican Don Bacon Quietly Deletes Anti-Abortion Endorsements From Website [Rolling Stone, 3/22/24]

USA Today: Is Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon walking back his abortion stance? [USA Today, 4/2/24]

Nebraska Examiner: Vargas poll shows another tight U.S. House race with Bacon in Nebraska’s 2nd District [Nebraska Examiner, 3/29/24]

“Two years after Republicans spent more than $5 million in outside money attacking Democratic State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha, he heads into his likely rematch with U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., no worse for wear, polling indicates.

“An internal Vargas campaign poll shared with the Examiner shows him in a statistical tie with Bacon in a potential general election race. That fits with recent House race ratings from Inside Elections and Crystal Ball, which list the race as increasingly competitive.

“In the internal polling, Vargas led Bacon 46%-43% among voters surveyed in the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District.”

Nebraska Examiner: Campaign update: Vargas giving Bacon a run for his fundraising money in 2nd District [Nebraska Examiner, 2/5/24]

Nebraska Examiner: Vargas among first wave of Democratic congressional challengers drawing national interest [Nebraska Examiner, 1/29/24]

“An experienced candidate capable of raising funds and a vulnerable Republican representing a House district that voted for Joe Biden in 2020 has raised the profile of Nebraska’s 2nd District with national Democrats.”

Nebraska Examiner: Ricketts, Bacon endorse Trump as presumptive GOP nominee [Nebraska Examiner, 3/6/24]

As one of just 16 Biden-won districts represented by a Republican, Nebraska’s Second Congressional District is a top pickup opportunity for Democrats. It’s also one of the best-trending districts for Democrats across the entire battlefield: President Trump won the district by almost 2 points in 2016, then President Biden won it by over 6 in 2020 – a swing of over 8 points in just 4 years. Republicans are so panicked they moved to try and take away NE-02’s electoral college vote.

Last cycle, Tony came within 3 points of winning NE-02, about half of the margin two years earlier, despite the fact Republicans had an 8 point turnout advantage over Democrats and Democrats were outspent nearly 2:1.

This time around, the presidential race will help turn out more Democratic voters, while Tony’s war chest already nearly matches Bacon’s – and Bacon’s higher burn rate suggests that Tony will surpass his cash on hand as soon as next quarter. And, for the first time since Bacon’s first election in 2016, Democrats are unified behind their candidate while Bacon had to fend off yet another primary challenger. In fact, polling shows Tony Vargas ahead of Don Bacon 46 to 43 in a general election matchup.

With the Omaha area rapidly turning against the Republican Party’s extremism, a much more favorable electorate, and Tony poised to have more cash on hand as the campaign enters the general election, Bacon is on borrowed time. While Bacon continues to put Trump and the MAGA extremists in his party over Nebraskans, his constituents will have the chance to elect someone who puts them first, and we are confident that they will.


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