Former U.S. Representative Brad Ashford, a Democrat who served one term representing the Omaha-centric district of Nebraska, died Tuesday morning. He was 72 years old.
Ashford’s family announced his death in a Facebook post, saying “his death was peaceful but far too premature.” Just two months earlier, Ashford revealed he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Ashford was a state senator from Omaha when he ousted longtime Republican incumbent Lee Terry to represent Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district. Ashford lost the seat two years later to current GOP Rep. Don Bacon.
He sought the seat again in 2018, but lost the Democratic primary to Kara Eastman. In 2020 his wife, Ann Ferlic Ashford, announced her candidacy for the seat, but she also lost the primary to Eastman. Brad Ashford shook up the general election race by endorsing Bacon over Eastman.
A lawyer and lifelong resident of Omaha, he began his political career in the 1980s as a Democrat, but changed parties several times over the years and portrayed himself as an independent-minded moderate.
Ashford received his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1971 and his law degree from Creighton University in Omaha in 1974. He worked as an attorney for the Federal Highway Administration in 1974 before entering private practice the following year . In the 1990s, he became part owner of the Nebraska Clothing Company.
He is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.
New York Post