SENIOR ONLINE REPORTER
With the U.S. Senate race becoming just as polarizing as the 2020 Presidential Election, many voters, including myself, are left undecided on their voting decision. While some Nebraskans are dissatisfied with Sen. Ben Sasse’s questionable actions as senator, others are disgusted with local businessman and Democratic candidate Chris Janicek for a recent scandal involving sexual harassment of a staff member, leading the Nebraska Democratic party to call for him to drop out.
Because Janicek did not have the integrity to step down, it robbed the second highest-voted primary candidate, Alisha Shelton, of the opportunity to take his place as a U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate. This lack of integrity turns away young Nebraska voters like myself. We are already voting for the “lesser of two evils” in the 2020 Presidential election—why must we also face this problem when voting for the Nebraska senate?
North Omaha activist Preston Love Jr.’s decision to run as a write-in candidate for the 2020 election came as an answered prayer for many of us who are already disillusioned with the current political climate.
Love said his motivation to join the race as a third write-in option for U.S. Senate came in a threefold decision: 1) to run against democratic incumbent, Chris Janicek, 2) to represent and provide reforms that help marginalized communities like North Omaha, and 3) to inspire many citizens to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election as it is crucial for the future of our country.
“I decided to do it to be a good trooper for the party,” Love said. “I am an author, a teacher and a voice as it relates to the community, and now it gives me an opportunity to wax about that during my candidacy.”
Love expressed support for Alisha Shelton, who was initially in line to replace Janicek in the U.S. Senate Race for Nebraska. He said the Nebraska Democratic Party, including himself, thought Janicek would resign when urged to.
“We all agree that Alicia Shelton should represent the party, and, not just that, but she would be a great candidate and great senator,” Love said. “I kicked off my campaign because of all of the things that happened since, and Alicia Shelton was there to introduce and support me because we have mutual respect.”
Love said 2020 is the most important election in his lifetime, for everybody, with much at stake regarding the current administration’s leadership. In past elections, Love said he felt his votes for then-presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had a historic impact, and the same is true in 2020.
“We have biases, but your decision to vote is a decision that will have implications for generations,” Love said. “If you’re young and a student, you’ve got to consider that your vote, or lack thereof, is either going to change your life negatively or positively.”
Love said voters should consider mail-in voting both for social distancing purposes and to avoid potential areas of unrest on the election day. He also suggested dropping off ballots in drop boxes after hearing many students’ concerns about the post office.
“You can go to votedouglascounty.com and find out where those drop boxes are, and if you haven’t requested a ballot to be sent out to your address, you can get a blank copy to fill out and get it back to them,” Love said.
Running as the first Black Nebraskan representing a major party for the United States Senate comes with a lot of responsibility. However, Love also said with the responsibility comes the honor of offering his experience and wisdom to those who will listen. Whether he wins or loses, it’s an opportunity to highlight the importance of voting in these crucial times.
“My candidacy is about love in the Senate: Love over discrimination, racism and about love as it is related to change and reform,” he said. “When you write in, you can put ‘Love,’ ‘Preston,’ or ‘Preston Love,’ any of those can work. And that’s how you vote a write-in candidate.”