Congressional District 3 candidate Mark Elworth Jr. is leaving the Nebraska Democratic Party and running as a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.
“I plan to turn my petition in for the Legal Marijuana Now Party on Aug. 1,” Elworth said. “They have 10 days to count it and I have until Sept. 1 to change my parties.”
The switch follows a dispute between Elworth and NDP Chair Jane Kleeb.
Elworth said Kleeb and the NDP have outright refused to support his candidacy.
“Right away, right after I got onto the ballot, she called me and said no way will she give me any party support,” he said.
“She didn’t give me any reason why.”
Kleeb said in an email it Elworth had failed to properly complete an application with the party.
“Our candidates have to fill out paperwork in order to get access to party resources,” Kleeb wrote. “Mark refused to do that, so therefore no resources were extended to him.”
Kleeb indicated the switch was welcome.
“We look forward to him completing that paperwork with the Nebraska Secretary of State so that we can fill the ballot line with a member of the Democratic Party,” she wrote.
Elworth served before as 2016 vice presidential candidate for the LMN Party and achieved 10th place in the general election.
“I wanted to help the Democrats out this time, but they were unable to give me any support at all,” he said. “I was all gung ho to win this race for them.”
Elworth touted his record as a marijuana activist and third party candidate.
He has also run as a Libertarian candidate and has supported the Green Party.
“I consider myself pretty moderate on a lot of issues,” he said. “I’m a little conservative on money issues. I’m more liberal on social issues. I’m a constitutionalist. I believe in people’s rights and equal rights for everybody.”
He added, “I’m not a true Democrat, but I’m not a Republican either.”
Elworth is optimistic about his campaign going forward.
“I think I’m going to do very well,” he said. “I’m a populist and they love my politics. I’m not building for what a party wants. I’m building what they want.”
Until Elworth’s petition is approved, Republican incumbent Rep. Adrian Smith’s only opposition is Libertarian Party candidate Dustin Hobbs.
Kleeb said the NDP is presently seeking a candidate for the 3rd District.