How Term Limits are Changing Nebraska Politics

Nebraska lawmakers are limited to two consecutive terms in that state’s unicameral Legislature. The change is making campaigns last longer, but there are also some big advantages for candidates.

Campaigns and Elections looks at how those term limits are causing candidates to declare earlier and earlier in election cycles. Those longer election cycles give candidates more time to roll out their campaign and contact voters. In larger population legislative districts, a candidate could have personal contact with 20,000 more voters than they would with a shorter cycle.

If a candidate has poor name ID he/she can begin the process of meeting the important people in the district, meeting lobbyists in the state Capitol and begin raising money. In smaller communities or rural districts, there are 4th of July parades, community festivals and county fairs to attend where a candidate can meet thousands of people relatively easily without having to create their own campaign events. A candidate can just piggyback onto events where people will already be congregated.

Another advantage is that a candidate can do a slower rollout, listening to voters about what they’re concerned about, and take more time in developing his/her message. Listening to voters and personally seeing which messages resonate and which fall flat helps you create much better printed materials and paid media messages.