OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Councilman
Ben Gray on Thursday congratulated challenger Juanita Johnson on her win Thursday and said he had no plans for what comes next but that he wouldn’t stop working in the community.
“You’re going to see me as much as you have — maybe a little bit more,” he said.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday. As of 5:53 p.m. Wednesday, here’s where the latest results on the most-watched city races stand.
Jean Stothert was leading challenger RJ Neary, 67% to 33%.
Neary sent a concession statement out just before 10 p.m. Tuesday:
“Tonight we came up short in votes but we have left our Omaha in a better place.
Our message to make Omaha more safe, more sustainable and more equitable was heard. Getting things was done was heard. Being more inclusive and welcoming was heard.
This campaign faced many obstacles, but the voters have spoken. This campaign was not about RJ Neary, it was about a better Omaha. I am better for running and I hope for a better Omaha and only wish better things for Omaha.
I am so grateful for all those that had faith in our message and in me.
I first must say my family has been shoulder to shoulder with me every step of the way. Thank you Liz, Nell, JD and Nora. To my extended family and brothers and sisters I am so touched by your help. My late Mother got her vote in one day before she passed.
I thank Jasmine Harris, Kimara Snipes, and Mark Gudgel for their support after a close primary.
My campaign team has seen the best and worst of days in me in a campaign. I thank them all.
My donors stepped up again and again when the odds were not with us.
I thank God and all those that prayed for me during this journey.
I thank Mayor Stothert for a clean campaign and thank her for her service to Omaha.
Tomorrow we all celebrate and a good race. If Omaha wins we all win. Tonight we celebrate the race well run.
Thank you all. God Bless.”
Omaha City Council
In Dist. 2, incumbent Councilman
Ben Gray has lost to challenger Juanita Johnson, 44% to 56%.
Dist. 3 and Dist. 5, voters made their pick in races with no incumbent. Dist. 3: Danny Begley leads Cammy Watkins, 54% to 46%. Dist. 5: Patrick Leahy trails Don Rowe, 45% to 55%.
The Dist. 7 primary election saw a slim margin between incumbent
Aimee Melton and challenger Sara Kohen. The latest results had Melton leading Kohen, 53% to 47%.
Just after 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kohen sent out a concession statement:
“I have just learned that, based on the number of ballots that remain to be counted, I will not be representing District 7 for the next four years. Running for City Council has been a privilege. Connecting with people and hearing about how they interact with our city government has affected me deeply, and I am honored to have received the support of so many.
Omaha has substantial work to do: We must move past damaging, hyper-partisan politics, do more to improve Omahans’ everyday lives, and address the threats posed by climate change before it’s too late. For my part, I plan to spend more time with my family and will keep working to do what I can, as a private citizen, to help people in our community.”
Incumbents in the remaining council races handily defeated their challengers:
Dist. 1: Incumbent Councilman Pete Festersen beat challenger Sarah Johnson, 63% to 37%. Dist. 4: Incumbent Councilman Vinny Palermo beat challenger Becky Barrientos-Patlan, 61% to 39%. Dist. 6: Incumbent Councilman Brinker Harding beat challenger Naomi Hattaway, 65% to 35%. Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.