Vokal to announce Monday

City Councilman Jim Vokal will announce his candidacy for Mayor of Omaha this coming Monday, Leavenworth Street has been informed.

The news of Vokal’s run isn’t a big surprise, and should now conclude the “RunJimmyRun” campaign started a few months ago by a former co-worked of Vokal. Vokal has been raising money for some time now, and his organizational efforts can now kick-in and join the other major announced candidate in the field, former Mayor Hal Daub.

While an officially non-partisan race, both Vokal and Daub are Republicans, so it will be interesting to see who chooses what side between the two.

Add to the mix the other presumed major candidate, Councilman Jim Suttle — a Democrat. But Suttle’s relationship with present Mayor, Democrat Mike Fahey, is considered icy, and there is a huge question-mark as to whether Fahey would support a Suttle run. (Others would say there is no question — that Fahey won’t support Suttle.)

Will Fahey get involved in this race? Would it be likely that he would sit it out completely? And will he pull traditional Democrat supporters to whomever he may endorse? We wait. We wait.


The next big question, after Suttle announces, is: will anyone else jump in?

Retiring City Councilman Dan Welch is still “50-50” in his decision on whether or not to toss his hat. However as time, and donors, slip away, it will be more and more difficult for Welch to enter the race.

Is there anyone else? We have effectively canceled out the possibilities of Scott Hazelrigg, Brad Ashford, John Ewing and Pat Bourne. Any of them could, in theory, jump in, but that’s not what we’re hearing.

Nonetheless, we are still convinced that at least one more major candidate could make it interesting.

Any suggestions?
Any takers?


Former KETV Channel 7, photojournalist and talk show host Ben Gray has decided to give it a whirl for North Omaha’s City Council District 2. The seat is currently held by former KETV reporter Frank Brown.

Brown has consistently refused to tell any of the media his intentions on whether or not he will run for re-election (we didn’t bother). But of those “no comments”, our favorite was Brown’s response to his old station:

“I don’t talk to channel 7.”

Rrrrwrrowr! Well, there you go.

(But by giving them that response, didn’t he technically talk to them, and thereby cancel out his statement? Shouldn’t he just have hung up the phone? Or maybe he emailed that response, and he is willing to type, but just not talk. In which case, it’s still confusing.)

Gray has an interesting background, having hosted the Sunday morning local talk show that would be on opposite “Davey & Goliath”, “Jean’s Story Time”, “All Star Wrestling” and “Notre Dame Football” for years — “Kaleidoscope”. Gray hosted the program for nearly thirty years before retiring this year. You can’t say he hasn’t been focused on Omaha.

Gray also was an opponent of Senator Ernie Chambers’s plan for the Omaha learning districts. Gray was notably quoted in the New York Times as saying, “This is a disaster.” (Of course Brenda Council, who was just elected to Chambers’s seat was also against the proposal.)

In any case, if Frank Brown does eventually tell the press whether he will run, that should set up an interesting battle in District 2. Two former Channel 7 personalities, both relatively well-known, fairly respected.

And in a district that was given a lot of political attention in the past few months. It is likely that those who recently became politically active will be looking to stay involved.

That could be a fun one to watch.


And just to keep things balanced, yesterday another candidate officially entered the race for Omaha Mayor. His name is Jerry Odom. He has his campaign website up and running as well — ChangeForOmaha.com.

Now you have to hand it to people like Odom He probably wants the best for Omaha, etc., etc.

But the funny thing is, Odom’s old website now links to his new Mayoral site.

And his old site? Well, that would be Odom for PRESIDENT!
Yes, Mr. Odom first had his sites set on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Since party-pooper Obama is moving in, he is instead gunning for 1819 Farnam. Sure it’s a step-down. But the commute is much easier.


(We apologize to any non-Omahans whom we are boring to tears. If there is some interesting Nebraska politics that you’d like to see discussed, email us or toss it in the comments.)

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  1. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Okay Sweeper, I’ll take you up on that “any non-Omahans whom we’re boring to tears” invitation, although this does relate to past Omaha politics. I would like to pay tribute to a gracious and beloved public servant, Senator Bernice Labedz. May she rest in peace.

  2. OmaSteak says:

    It’s official, Omaha has its first Marxist candidate for citywide office…Ben Gray. On KFAB this morning to talk about his run for the city council, Ben was asked what the solution(s) might be for violence in his city council district. His answer, “end racism and poverty”. As a long-time viewer of Ben’s weekly show, his answer to ending poverty is take the money from the evil white people in Omaha and give it to the people of the “community”, hence solving all their problems. Huh, hasn’t government at all levels been doing this for over 40 years without success??? It will be interesting to watch these two poverty/racism activists duke it out for the Ernie Chambers voters. Since these two really don’t like each other, should produce some fireworks in what could be boring city council races.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Terry Moore from MECA is thinking about getting into the race. I talked to Tom Becka on Sat. night and his named was mentioned.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, it’s been old news for about a month now that Hazelrigg’s not running for mayor. Now city council…..that’s another story.

  5. Jon Rehm says:

    Lincoln elects its 3 at-large City Council members this spring. The GOP controls the council by a 4-3 margin. 2/3 of the incumbent at-large members, Dan Marvin (D) and Ken Svoboda (R) have been defeated in races for higher office. Lincoln could be an entertaining “second stage” for Nebraska politics this spring.

  6. asecurityguard says:

    How about a blog on the safe haven law in nebraska? Its interesting stuff, local elected officials are involved (including Don Kleine for some reason which im not sure about). I mean, you will have a blog about the pitbull ban in omaha but not about parents abandoning their kids?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Three Councilmen, Welch, Vokal and Sigerson voted against the Fire Contract in 2004. Vokal was actually President at the time and warned his colleagues and the public the ramifications of the contract provisions.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mayor Faheys relationship with Suttle is “icy”?
    I did not know that. Maybe it is because when a new baseball stadium was discussed Suttle held a press conference with Councilman Gernandt and defended Rosenblatt.
    Too bad for Suttle the Presidential race does not coincide with the Mayoral race.
    Douglas county is Blue now you see.
    At least it was on Nov. 4th.

    Ricky From Omaha

  9. millard repub says:

    Cameraman . . . Realtor . . . Or you can be like Jean Stothert whose qualification for office is being a doctor’s wife with a country club membership.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I will support Stothert as she is very qualified. She is a former Critical Care Nurse, once of the toughest jobs in any field and one that I have respect for.

    Furthermore, she is a respected public official who is the President of the Millard School District and a very good leader at that.

    We want people who can fight for Omaha and Jean will do that especially with Hal Daub as our Mayor.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is the crazy deranged “vote third party” sign guy that hangs out in front of the Qwest center.
    If this election becomes a free-for-all, and nobody wants to throw their “hat into the ring” that supports my lunatic ideas, I will have no choice but to present a voters a clear alternative to the same old, same old prim and proper sane and of sound mind candidates.
    Should we do everything we can to crack down on cigarettes? Should we take the million dollar gamble and make Omaha famous as the PRISTINE tourist town with NO SECONDHAND SMOKE? Could we turn Omaha into a spa and recreation city with clean air?
    Tax Trans-fat!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Spiked police pensions, 50 plus dead dogs? Thanks, Jim Vokal.
    Run, Jimmy, run, as far as you can outside the city of Omaha limits. Hal Daub looks great to this Independent and will have my vote!

  13. Anonymous says:

    If Jean Stothert spends money at the City like she spent it on the school board, her critical care nursing background will come in handy . . . because the City will be in critical condition!!

  14. Interested Voter says:

    Actually Anonymous idiot above if the city followed Millard’s lead the city would have high quality services at low cost to the taxpayers. JUST AN FYI Millard’s Supt. Keith Lutz was named Superintendent of the year. Millard consistently has the highest test scores at the lowest per pupil cost in the Metro Area. It seems the Blumenthal camp is desperate this week because they heard off all the conservative republican office holders supporting Jean Stothert.

  15. millard repub says:

    I don’t care who is supporting her, Jean Stothert is a liberal. She voted to increases taxes twice on the Millard School Board and supports my tax dollars being used for abortion. Those are the facts. If you want a liberal representing Millard, vote Jean Stothert.

  16. millard repub says:

    I seem to remember that liberal Jean had a long list of big name Republicans in her race against Lathrop . . . and she lost in a very Republican area.

    Liberal Jean Stothert is trying to cover up her record of voting for higher taxes with big name endorsements. Too bad for liberal Jean that it didn’t work in 2006 and won’t work in 2008.

    Voters know that Jean Stothert is just too liberal.

  17. millard repub says:

    I seem to remember that liberal Jean had a long list of big name Republicans in her race against Lathrop . . . and she lost in a very Republican area.

    Liberal Jean Stothert is trying to cover up her record of voting for higher taxes with big name endorsements. Too bad for liberal Jean that it didn’t work in 2006 and won’t work in 2008.

    Voters know that Jean Stothert is just too liberal.

  18. W. O. Rez says:

    Jean will most likely acquire a qualified campaign manager for her run this time around. Everyone is guilty of being fooled at least once in their life.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If Steve Achelpohl expects to become a US Attorney he’d better be able to explain why, despite the NDP rulebook requirement for an annual audit of the party’s treasury, he refused to have one throughout his entire time he was its chair. He even refused to have one done despite being ordered to by the NDP state central committee.
    There are those in the party who held him responsible for some very questionable expenses that he covered up. He refused to explain what apparantly was innappropriate use of party funds for what appeared to be personal use by his ex executive director, Barry Rubin. Overloading the party’s executive committee with his close personal friends was, I recall, another of many issues they held against him.
    The last couple of years there was a movement to get answers form Achelpohl and the party never got them. That is the true reason he stepped down. He quit before he was run out of town on a rail.

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