Ahead of the 2020 election, the Nebraska Democratic Party (NDP) endorsed Preston Love, an activist and UNO professor from North Omaha, as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate.
Love accepted his endorsement and announced his candidacy on Thursday, Sept. 10, making him the first Black U.S. Senate candidate backed by a major political party in a general election in Nebraska.
“2020 has been a unique year. Many of our young people can’t go to school, many of our adults are not working, evictions are at an all-time high, disparities for people of color have finally become recognized, and our elderly are chronically at-risk,” Love said.
Love has worked in his hometown and his neighborhood to further the civil rights movement for many years. In addition, he is currently teaching Black Studies and Politics at UNO, and he serves as the founder and CEO of the Black Votes Matter Institute of Community Engagement and 4Urban.org.
Former Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate Alisha Shelton introduced Love on Thursday, voicing her support for his candidacy.
“I fully support Mr. Love stepping up,” Shelton said. “He is the write-in candidate that we need. A person who actively led parts of the civil rights movement. A person who speaks up for the people. A person who identifies the common goal in every circumstance and believes we all have a right to the American dream.”
Kara Eastman, a Democrat who is currently running for election to the U.S. House to represent Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, also offered her endorsement.
“I am happy and excited to endorse my good friend Preston Love for the United States Senate,” Eastman said. “Preston would be an amazing Senator, and I am honored to be running with him and Vice President Joe Biden at the top of the ticket.”
NDP Chair Jane Kleeb commended Love on his commitment to the state.
“Voters expect and deserve a choice when they receive their ballot in the mail or when they go to their polling place on Nov. 3 – a choice for the U.S. Senate who affirms their values of equality, justice and hard work,” Kleeb said. “Preston Love is a statement candidate. Love always combats hate. Nebraskans from Omaha to Scottsbluff will be proud to write-in Love.”
Though Omaha baker Chris Janicek won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in May, the NDP rescinded its support for his campaign after sexually explicit texts that he sent to a staff member were made public. The NDP then endorsed Shelton to replace Janicek, but Janicek refused to step down and withdraw his candidacy.
In the state of Nebraska, there is no law that allows a political party to petition the Secretary of State to remove a candidate from their partisan ballot line, so the NDP instead decided to run a write-in candidate to oppose Janicek and challenge current Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. Other Democrats who ran in the primary, including Shelton, are precluded by state law from running as a write-in candidate in the general election.