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“Don Bacon has proven that he’s out of touch with hardworking Nebraskans by falling in line again and again with Washington politicians and backing a nationwide ban on abortion with no exceptions, voting against bringing good manufacturing jobs to Nebraska, against lowering prescription drug costs, and calling to cut Social Security benefits and raise the retirement age for seniors. Nebraskans deserve a leader who will always put them first, who will work to get rising costs under control, and continue to grow our economy. That’s why I’m running for Congress.” (8/26/23,


BACKGROUND + EXPERIENCE                                    

Tony Vargas has devoted his career to public service and is running again to flip Nebraska’s 2nd District from red to blue. His opponent will be Don Bacon, seeking his fifth term. Bacon defeated Vargas in 2022 for this seat, winning 51.3% of the vote in this Biden +6 district.

Tony Vargas is a former public school science teacher + member of the Omaha Public School Board. He has received Most Outstanding Teacher + Teacher of the Year Awards.


Vargas has served in the Nebraska Legislature since 2016, the first Latino Democrat elected to that body. In 2020 he was elected for a 4-year term to Nebraska’s unicameral legislature with more than 75% of the vote, the largest margin of any incumbent lawmaker in the legislature.


As a state senator, Vargas has developed a reputation for civility + getting things done for Nebraska workers + small businesses. He successfully led the passage of legislation to strengthen public schools, improve access to health care, encourage technology + innovation + improve consumer protections.


One of the first members of his family to graduate from college, Vargas received his BA from the University of Rochester + a Master’s in Education from Pace University. He his wife Lauren are raising their two children in Omaha.


Tony Vargas believes:  

The best way to grow the economy is by supporting people.

We must act to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

We have to protect women’s right to choose.

The right to vote is what makes our democracy the best in the world.

A priority is strengthening public schools + providing a high-quality education to kids.

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is both an environmental + economic necessity.

It is our duty to provide for veterans both during + after their service.


In 2020, voters in this district voted for Biden by six points but sent GOP incumbent Don Bacon back to Congress for a third term. He defeated Vargas in 2022 by 5856 votes. It was one of the five closest races nationally against a Republican incumbent + was one of the 18 districts won by a Republican that went for Biden, making it a true swing district.


Winning in these “Biden+” districts by defeating Republican incumbents is key to the Democrat’s chances of re-taking the House majority + that may come down to flipping districts like this one. There will be an unprecedented flood of outside money to Bacon from Republicans desperate to hold onto this seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers Nebraska 02 a top pick-up opportunity + has labeled it a 2024 “District in Play.”


Rep. Bacon’s approval rating is “under water” according to the House Majority Forward (5/20/23) indicating a strong Vargas opportunity. Bacon has pushed for a nationwide abortion ban, voted against access to birth control, background checks on gun sales, school safety measures + prosecuting gun traffickers. He supports raising the retirement age.


Strongly conservative + solidly Republican, Nebraska last voted for a Democrat for President in 1964. Trump carried Nebraska by 19% in 2020, down from 25% in 2016. Currently Nebraska's entire Congressional delegation is Republican.


Significantly, Nebraska is one of two states (Maine is the other) where electoral votes are partially divided on a district basis as opposed to the winner-take-all approach used in awarding Electoral College votes in the other 48 states. The winner of Nebraska's popular vote for President gets two electoral votes, while one vote is assigned to the winner of each of the state's three Congressional districts. A Biden win in NE 02 would garner an Electoral College vote regardless of his performance in the rest of very red Nebraska. Supporting Tony Vargas + voting in his favor can have positive “up-ballot” implications. Nebraska split its Electoral College votes in both ‘08 + ‘20.


Endorsements from labor organizations include:   
IBEW Local 22, UFCW Local 293, SEIU Local 226, CWA, Nebraska AFL-CIO

Elect Educators Everywhere

314 Action

National Committee for an Effective Congress

Latino Victory

League of Conservation Voters Action Fund

J Street

National Association of Social Workers

Sierra Club

New Democrat Coalition Action Fund

Bold Democrats (CHC BOLD PAC)

Voter Protection Project and Progressive Turnout Project

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

COMMITTEES (as member of Nebraska State Senate)


Nebraska Retirement Systems

Committee on Committees


Executive Board

Legislative Planning

Economic Recovery Special Committee

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