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Sullivan challenges Smith for congressional district
News 5's Decision 2012 coverage continues Friday night with a look at the House of Representative race in the third district. Current Congressman Adrian Smith is seeking his 4th two year term. He's facing a challenger who is just beginning to get his name out to voters.
"When I got ready to retire of perhaps dabbling in politics but I had no thought of a high office necessarily," said Mark Sullivan.
No turning back now.
Farmer and Doniphan native Mark Sullivan finds himself in the thick of the race to become the congressman for Nebraska's 3rd district. That's the largest district based on mass in the state with 75 counties.
He's trying to unseat incumbent Adrian Smith.
"We've got some good opportunities to show the American people that we care about the economy," said Smith.
Sullivan has been playing catch up ever since joining the race on March 1st.
"The approval rating of Congress at that time was somewhere between 8 and 20 percent. I felt that even if the congressman was doing the best job in Congress it still wasn't good enough," Sullivan said.
"I respect someone willing to put their name on the line," Smith said.
House of Representative Candidate Mark Sullivan has spent most of his life working in the field or on the farm which is why he says he relates so well to Nebraska voters. Adrian Smith has spent years working in Washington. Both agree the biggest issue of this election could be the farm bill.
"I think we're talking 42 million Americans on food stamps because it has become so easy to qualify there are loopholes for qualifications so that has encouraged such huge growth we can pursue policies that can cut that back a little and moved forward with the farm bill," said Smith.
"The folks in the livestock areas and in the drought are already waiting hopefully waiting for relief," said Sullivan.
Spending and how to cut the deficit are just two of the many issues the candidates won't talk with voters about.
"I don't think we can afford to give more tax cuts at this time. Until we balance this budget in much better fashion. We need both spending cuts and tax increases to balance this budget," said Sullivan.
"One manufacture with about 40 employees told me that the estate tax, the death tax would devastate their business we need to pay attention to that these are companies that are multi-generation Nebraska based," Smith said.
With just a few days left until Election Day, Sullivan knows the odds are stacked against him.
"Congressman Smith has a lot of name recognition. He's got a real good financial treasury for the campaign and obviously I'm new at this time and I don't have the name recognition so that is the biggest hurdle," Sullivan said.
It's one he'll need to clear if he wants to represent Nebraska in Washington.
Just how hard of a task will it be to climb for Sullivan? In the last two general elections, Smith has had over 70 percent of the votes.
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