ELECTION 2021: Neary to take on Stothert in mayoral election

The Douglas County Election Commission released unofficial tallies for Tuesday’s Omaha primary on Friday afternoon.
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 1:10 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - RJ Neary will face incumbent Jean Stothert in the Omaha mayoral election in May, the Douglas County Election Commission reported Friday.

The unofficial final vote tallies in the city primary election Tuesday put RJ Neary firmly in second place, with 13,162 votes; hopeful challenger Jasmine Harris came in third, earning 11,993 votes. Additionally, Kimara Snipes received 7,469, and Mark Gudgel got 4,087 votes.

People like the leadership, they like what they’ve seen the last day or last eight years. We are going to be concentrating on the next four years, so we felt really good primary night. We’re going to work hard, we always work like we’re five points behind so that big gap that we had in the primary, we’re not gonna take our foot off the gas at all.

Mayor Jean Stothert

Thank you for the vote of confidence in our work and in Omaha's future. It is now a five-week sprint to the May general...

Posted by Jean Stothert on Wednesday, April 7, 2021

We’ve only had four months to get our message out not 12 years, and a lot of people think that 12 years in City Hall is enough and we need all the Democrats to come together and I’m committed to including them all and sharing our platform and making sure ones on board. We were short about 1,196 votes.

RJ Neary

I’m here to ensure that we are working to building Omaha that is equitable and inclusive and the candidate that is for that, I am here to support and work towards that. I am here to work, to get Jean Stothert out of office yes.

Jasmine Harris

Friday’s results also decided some close races in a few of the city’s council districts.

In Dist. 2, Juanita Johnson expanded her small lead on Jonathan Lathan for second place, earning her the right challenge incumbent Ben Gray. On Election Night, she led Lathan by only 29 votes; that lead has since grown to 68 votes.

Friday’s postings showed the second-place standings in Dist. 5 had changed. Don Rowe was leading on Tuesday night by 47 votes, followed by Kathleen Kauth and Patrick Leahy. But the unofficial tally has Leahy now beating Kauth by 97 votes, receiving 2,383 total; with Rowe keeping the top spot by 74 votes, earning 2,554 votes.

The district’s trailing candidates were Kate Gotsdiner, earning 1,857 votes. She came in ahead of Colleen Brennan, who was appointed to the council seat after former councilman Rich Pahls was elected to his State Senator post in November; she received 1,811 votes. Jeff Moore finished with 1,663 votes.

Dist. 7 was a very close race with incumbent Aimee Melton and challenger Sara Kohen in a dead heat the whole way through, though both candidates automatically advance to the city’s election on May 11. Friday’s unofficial primary results show Melton leading by just 53 votes, getting 7,116 votes to Kohen’s 7,063.

The rest of the council races were much more clear-cut.

In Dist. 1, Pete Festersen remained the clear winner with 7,415 votes, followed by Sarah Johnson with 3,327 votes, Tyeisha Kosmicki with 1,994 votes, and Paul Anderson with 764 votes.

Danny Begley and Cammy Watkins came out on top in Dist. 3, where Councilman Chris Jerram is stepping down, with just 120 votes between them. Begley cleared 4,228 votes, and Cammy Watkins received 4,118. The remaining candidates trailed further behind, with close third-place totals: Gilbert Ayala took 1,384 votes, and Jen Bauer got 1,355.

And in Dist. 6, Councilman Brinker Harding was the clear winner, getting 10,202 votes. Naomi Hattaway received 6,440 votes, but as the only challenger in the district, she also advances to the May election.

The total voter turnout reported by the county was 85,096. The city election is set for May 11.

Photojournalist Roger Hamer contributed to this story.

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