Former US Rep. Brad Ashford of Nebraska dead at 72
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford, a Democrat who served one term representing Nebraska’s Omaha-centered district, died Tuesday morning. He was 72.
Ashford’s family announced his death in a Facebook post, saying “his death was peaceful though much too premature.” Just two months earlier, Ashford had revealed he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Ashford was a state senator from Omaha when he unseated longtime Republican incumbent Lee Terry to represent Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. Ashford lost the seat two years later to current GOP Rep. Don Bacon.
He sought the seat again in 2018, but lost the Democratic primary to Kara Eastman. In 2020, his wife, Ann Ferlic Ashford, announced her candidacy for the seat, but she also lost the primary to Eastman. Brad Ashford shook up the general election race by endorsing Bacon over Eastman.
An attorney and lifelong Omaha resident, he began his political career in the 1980s as a Democrat but switched parties several times over the years and pitched himself as an independent-minded moderate.
Ashford earned his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1971 and his law degree from Creighton University in Omaha in 1974. He worked as an attorney for the Federal Highway Administration in 1974 before opening a private practice the next year. In the 1990s, he became co-owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company.
He is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.
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