A partial shutdown of the U.S. government and an impasse over raising the federal debt ceiling have prompted a Nebraska Democratic officeholder to challenge Republican Rep. Lee Terry in the 2014 elections.
Pete Festersen, a city councilman in Omaha, reversed an earlier decision to sit out the race.
“Like most people, my frustration has grown by the day over the last month, with the government shutdown and the brinkmanship on the debt ceiling,” Festersen said, the Omaha World-Herald newspaper reported early today.
“Change is needed. And I felt it was my responsibility to be that change,” he said, according to the newspaper.
Terry drew criticism for saying this month that having a “nice house and a kid in college” meant he “cannot handle” forgoing a paycheck during a government shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
Terry apologized last week and said he had asked House officials to withhold his pay until furloughed employees get paid.
Terry won an eighth term in 2012 by 51 percent to 49 percent, his closest race in a district that includes Omaha and some suburbs. Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama by 53 percent to 46 percent in the district, according to the state elections office.