The Nebraska State Capitol pictured at sunset on Feb. 17, 2022.
The Nebraska State Capitol pictured at sunset on Feb. 17, 2022. Photo by Zach Wendling/NNS.

As results trickle in for the state’s next legislators, follow along as the Nebraska News Service tracks which candidates will join the Nebraska Legislature when it convenes in January.

This year, 25 legislative seats are up for election. All but one will be filled by candidates running for four-year terms, Omaha’s District 31 will be filled by either incumbent State Sen. Kathleen Kauth or Tim Royers. They are vying to finish out the term of the late Sen. Rich Pahls, who died from complications of cancer in April, setting up the special election. Kauth was appointed to the vacancy after Pahls died. That legislative term will expire in 2024. 

Three candidates are running unopposed in Districts 30, 32 and 44. State Sens. Myron Dorn of Adams and Tom Brandt of Plymouth will be reelected, while Teresa Ibach of Sumner will be elected to succeed term-limited State Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango.

Thirteen state senators are either term-limited or retiring. State Sens. Carol Blood of Bellevue, Mike Hilgers of Lincoln and Tony Vargas of Omaha are campaigning for governor, attorney general and the 2nd Congressional District, respectively. This would allow Gov. Pete Ricketts or his successor the opportunity to appoint state senators in their place if they were to be elected.

While the Legislature is officially nonpartisan, there were 32 Republicans and 17 Democrats this past session. Candidates run without party affiliation next to their name on the ballot, but all but one candidate — nonpartisan Cindy Maxwell-Ostdiek of Omaha — has a registered affiliation.

Election night updates:

As of 8 p.m., State Sens. Myron Dorn of Adams and Tom Brandt of Plymouth have been re-elected to the Nebraska Legislature. Teresa Ibach of Sumner will succeed State Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango. All three ran unopposed for their districts.

As of 10:45 p.m., State Sens. Megan Hunt of Omaha and Mike Moser of Columbus are projected to win re-election.

As of 11:49 p.m., State Sens. John Arch of La Vista, Dave Murman of Glenvil and Ben Hansen of Blair are projected to win re-election. Jane Raybould of Lincoln is projected to succeed State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln.

Overnight recap: Overnight and into the morning on Wednesday, Nov. 9, The New York Times called the races for the following incumbents to win re-election: State Sens. Robert Clements of Elmwood, Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha and Wendy DeBoer of Bennington. The following candidates have also been projected to succeed term-limited or retiring senators.

  • R. Brad von Gillern of Elkhorn to succeed State Sen. Robert Hilkemann
  • Merv Riepe of Ralston to succeed State Sen. Steve Lathrop
  • Christy Armendariz of Omaha to succeed State Sen. Brett Lindstrom
  • Jana Hughes of Seward to succeed State Sen. Mark Kolterman
  • Loren Lippincott of Central City to succeed State Sen. Curt Friesen
  • Rick Holdcroft of Bellevue to succeed State Sen. Matt Williams
  • Barry DeKay of Niobrara to succeed State Sen. Tim Gragert.

Midday recap, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m.: Only four races remain to be called with the addition of these two.

  • State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha, elected to the remaining two years of State Sen. Rich Pahls’ term.
  • Brian Hardin of Gering to succeed State Sen. John Stinner.

Overnight recap, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m.: Two races remain to be called that could determine whether Republicans have a filibuster-proof majority (at least 33 votes). Currently, Democrats George Dungan and John Fredrickson are leading their opponents, Russ Barger and Stu Dornan, for the Lincoln and Omaha districts. Two races have been projected as well:

  • Danielle Conrad, a former state senator, will return to her Lincoln district that includes the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after eight years. She will succeed State Sen. Adam Morfeld.
  • State Sen. Mike Jacobson of North Platte has won a full term after Ricketts appointed him to the District 42 seat in February.

As of Nov. 17, at 9 p.m.: The New York Times has projected George Dungan of Lincoln will succeed State Sen. Matt Hansen for the District 26 legislative seat. Only the District 20 seat in Omaha between John Fredrickson and Stu Dornan has yet to be called.

As of the morning of Nov. 22: The New York Times has not yet projected a winner for the District 20 seat to succeed State Sen. John McCollister. However, John Fredrickson of Omaha is included on the unofficial senator-elect list from the Nebraska Legislature, winning over Stu Dornan of Omaha.


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated only two current state senators whose seats were not up for election, or who were not already leaving the Legislature, were running for higher office. The correct count is 3.

Zach Wendling is a senior journalism and political science double major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln focused on political, policy and governance reporting. He is the spring 2023 intern for the Nebraska Examiner and has been published in publications across the state as part of the Nebraska News Service. Wendling interned for The Hill and The News Station in Washington, D.C. and worked for The Daily Nebraskan at UNL. He is one of the founding members and inaugural president of UNL's new campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.