Abortion issue dents Dems effort to promote next generation

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Democrats desperate for fresh faces cast 37-year-old Heath Mello as a pragmatic, next generation leader who could win in the Nebraska heartland.

Yet his anti-abortion stance has become a flashpoint for the national party.

Mello is running to be Omaha’s next mayor. He faces Republican incumbent Jean Stothert on Tuesday.

Leading up to the election, Mello’s bid has exposed the cultural divisions among Democrats over abortion and proved a major embarrassment for the new party chairman, Tom Perez.

Top Democrats had planned a stop in Omaha at a rally for Mello, but abortion rights groups were outraged. Caught off-guard, Perez reversed himself. But Mello still has the endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year.