Who’s next on the Omaha City Council

The open seat on the Omaha City Council is an opportunity.

With Chuck Sigerson’s resignation earlier this week, the seat, held by a Republican, will give the new member a plum spot, without re-election until 2013.  Considering that campaigning (and fund raising, etc.) is often the most distasteful part of holding office, getting this placement can be a real deal.

And that’s why we would be a bit amazed if the local Dems would toss this opportunity to put in one of their own.

Joe Jordan has taken the lead on this issue on his Nebraska Watchdog blog to run a few names up the flagpole.

He tossed out both former Omaha Mayor candidate Dave Friend, as well as his cousin Mike Friend — both Republicans.  And the name of Chuck Sigerson’s son Andy was also tossed out there, though he apparently does not live in the district.

But Jordan followed that story up with the memory of a Republican being placed in the County Attorney spot when Democrat Jim Jansen retired. He quotes David Kramer saying at the time, “It is my job to see that Republicans are elected and (picked) when there are opportunities to get appointed.”

And frankly, that’s true.

But the situation of Jansen and Sigerson isn’t necessarily apples to apples. Jansen left to go into private practice. Like it or not, that’s a political calculation when you’re in elective office. But not only was Sigerson forced out by illness, he is still around! One would think the rest of the Council might ask who he thinks should replace the recently re-elected office holder.

***

So, who do we got?

Well, you’ve heard Mike Friend. And there’s Dave Friend — a former cop who just might have some sway with fellow former cop, Council President Gary Gernandt.

Then we’ve heard…Douglas County Board member, Kyle Hutchings!

Hutchings, 55, is retiring from the Board this year (and former Omaha Mayor — and Board member — P.J. Morgan is running for his seat). He told the OWH back in September of last year that he “plans to focus on his family and his lighting business”.

But maybe Hutchings just didn’t want to deal with campaigning. Having that out of the way would certainly take a load off the fam and the biz.

And word has it that Hutchings’s buddy on the board, Democrat Mike Boyle, may just try to grease the skids with the Dems on the Council.

Hmm.

So back to the Dems. We’ve heard there are a few others, maybe on Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s staff, that are interested.

We’ve heard name of former state Democrat party Black Caucus chair, Robin Quarles thrown around. (And you’d have to think that having another woman on the Council would be something Dems would want to consider.)

And just for the heck of it, the name of Denny Esch — father of Congressional candidate Jim Esch — was mentioned as someone who could be interested.

(Though we would note that ALL names listed are purely speculative. If any of the above mentioned would like their names unmentioned, as it were, we would be happy to oblige.)

***

So what say you, readers? Is this an opportunity for the Dems? Should they take that opportunity and run with it — hoping that person can then get re-elected in 2013?

Or do they owe it to Sigerson and his constituents to put in a GOPer?

Or frankly, do they go with someone like Hutchings, on the assumption that he would leave an open seat in 2013 and give them a new chance?

Or does anyone believe that party politics won’t be involved in this choice?

And just a final note:

Dave Heineman, Mike Johanns, Lee Terry, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith all were City Council members.

Something to think about.

62 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Former Chairman of the Urban Affairs Committee in the legislature, ballot tested in an area covering much of the district, developed good relationships with many in city government while in the legislature, reflects many of the same values and beliefs as the guy the voters elected to the seat in the first place…

    The Dems can't put up anyone from the district who can match these credentials.

    If Mike Friend goes for the seat he is appointed or the decision is made on a purely partisan basis. THAT will cost the Dems in 2013.

  2. NE Voter says:

    It'll be a Democrat.

    It's a pure political appointment. No Republicans complained when then-Gov. Kay Orr appointed Republican David Karnes to the U.S. Senate vacancy created by the unexpected death of Dem. Sen. Ed Zorinsky.

    Hell, that was a statewide dis to the Zorinsky voters, not a puny City council district.

  3. Nathan says:

    Agree, it will be a dem. If it was any of member of the friend family I would want John, but I don't think he qualifies. The city council has an obligation to put someone qualified in the spot, not just a party hack. But rest assured, it will be a dem. Probably a moderate one so there is a chance for re-election. I confess I am unsure of the dem bench in that area, anybody have any names?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The idea that the council would give a very unpopular mayor a clear rubber stamp will create a great revolt towards the council.

    The will be a lot of pressure put on the council not to do this.

    If they do, you can kiss the Dem they put in Sigerson's seat, Jerram, and the seat Festerson holds (becasue he will run for mayor) good bye.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm curious how you think 5 Dems will give the Mayor a rubber stamp? There are 4 now but they can't even agree with themselves. Heck Festersen should just switch parties and get it over with. He brings more conservative ideology to the council than Franklin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Basically you hit the nail on the head. Festersen can't be counted on and the added Dem would me he could waffle all over the pace and not worry – they'd still have the votes to pass anything Suttle wanted.

    The council had better take notice of the political climate. They put an R in the seat and they'd still have 4 Dems.

    Then again, that'd put alot of pressure on Lil' Petey.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dave Sund can't even tuck in his shirt, let alone be a councilman. But he does loke it when the boss lets him derive the BIG RED TRUCK!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    2:41 said "No Republicans complained when then-Gov. Kay Orr appointed Republican David Karnes to the U.S. Senate vacancy…"

    Wrong. GOP Congressman Hal Daub complained. He even ran against Karnes. All of Daub's GOP supporters complained too.

    In any case, it is silly to compare the Omaha Snitty Council to the U. S. Senate.

  9. GeosUser says:

    One might think that if there was a democrat living in district 7 that wanted to be on the council, they might have run for election against Chuck Sigerson who ran unopposed last year. I guess we'll have to wait and see who the fire union might be pushing.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Scott Laughtenbaugh?? That what I am hearing. Firefighters want him on the City Council because they know they can count on him. He is doing their bidding in Lincoln on a bill right now. He wants out because he is facing a very tough reelection campaign this fall.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tom Becka hahaha. That guys knows everything, like a teenager. He thinks life behind the mic is real. He wouldn't last 2 weeks in public life with people casting stones at him. His skin is only as thick as his intellect……. okay would have to be thicker than that to be sure.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Funny how the Nebraska Democratic Party doesn't seem to have a list of candidates running in 2010 up yet. Hmmm

    So who is running?
    Snow Plow Conrad?

    Wallman?

    Party Barge Captain Rogert? Has ~$50k in his account

    Mcgill?

    Dubas?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Dems on the council opt for one of their own and a rubber stamp for the mayor by appointing Senator Deb Suttle. You heard it here first.

  14. Blair says:

    I hope Scott Lautenbaugh is considered for the open seat. He has to be a better council person than Senator. Still hard to believe that he made LB355 (the cigar bill) his priority. Really?? He must really like to smoke. And the bar he helped out with the bill isn't even in his district. Good grief.

  15. In the Know says:

    To Blair: You must be some disgruntled politico that probably doesn't live in Blair. I know that because Senator Scott has lots of support from the political and business community in Blair. It seems there has been a push to smear Scott lately. Someone is very desperate!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Blair…er Carl Lorenzen,

    You are completely delusional if you think you can beat Lautenbaugh. Scott has done great work in the legislature.

    Fact is you have nothing to offer. Go ahead and throw your money away again.

  17. Anonymous says:

    RE: Vacancy

    This is an interesting post about the vacancy on the Omaha City Council.

    Just read that Sen. Evan Bayh (Indiana) won't run again.

    He's finishing his term out so there won't be a vacancy as such, but the seat is likely to flip to the R side in Nov.

    Comment from D posters?

  18. pol observer says:

    Bayh is running for president in 2012. He is having his aides through Obama and Reed under the bus. He will run on a reform platform against the Soros crazed nuts like Jane Kleeb. You heard it here first!! lol

  19. Anonymous says:

    Word is getting around that Pat Bourne is in the running for the City Council seat. He no longer lives in mid-town, as he moved a few years ago. He is popular with the business community, as the VP of Blue Cross. Could be an interesting choice.

  20. Anonymous says:

    That was quick…

    The Cook Report has moved the Indiana Senate race to "Lean Republican" from "Safe Democrat". The Rothenberg Report has moved it to "Toss Up".

    Wonder if Indiana Democrats will have as much trouble as Nebraska Democrats in finding a credible statewide candidate.

  21. Anonymous says:

    To "in the know" (aka Senator Scott). I would hardly call Blair's post a smear. Pretty defensive to use three exclamation pts. I think most would agree that LB355 was a waste of a priority bill. If you couldn't repeal the smoking ban should have just left it alone. But you now have a place to go smoke in Omaha so can't fault you for taking advantage of the opportunity. The waitresses at Cigarros love you and the drinks are on the house.

  22. Put out the Fire says:

    Tainted Fire Union Money Appointments should have any District 7 voter upset. We can't afford the fire union's cronies in office any more.

  23. Bought and paid for says:

    Wow anyone read Pat Bourne's NADC reports? Liquor, Tobacco, and Tainted Fire Union Money…Trial Lawyers to boot. Chris Jerram must love this guy. I know District 7 voters won't.

  24. Bought and paid for (part two)... says:

    As long as we are looking at the accountablity and disclosures filings take a gander at Senator Scott's last filing. There is a great big thank you check ($2500) from out of state tobacco giants. I would speculate for carrying the water on the cigar bill.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Get off your high horse, B&PF-P2, aka Mark Welsh. Although heavily regulated, the purchase and consumption of tobacco products in Nebraska is LEGAL. I am reminded of that every time I purchase a pack of cigarettes.

  26. BAPF2 says:

    You LOLers (Lovers of Lautenbaugh) have a pretty thin skin. One filing observation and you resort to name-calling. And no I am not Mark "where's the camera" Welsh – thay guy is a joke. I also see that you are not denying the pay off or offering to give the check back.

    I also see from Don Walton's column on Monday that Camel cigarettes is giving big money to Bruning so Scott is in good company.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I'm not a smpoker. Never have been.

    Yet, I am opposed to the smoking ban. I have no problem with Lautenbaugh getting a contribution from smoking interests. It's all pretty transparent to me. Nothing like the union influence and thuggery that costs us millions each year.

    The cigar thing was very sensible, and if you think that is where you are going to get traction Carl, you're nuts!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of looking at NADC filings and "tainted money"– Let's be careful! Our own leader, Dave Heineman, ranks as the kingpin in taking "tainted money"–his filings show VERY generous contributions of sleeze money from the follow industries: gambling, liquor, tobacco, drug companies, chemical companies, big banks and insurers. Yup, our Gov. has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from the good 'ol boys of back room deals that we all complain about and the tea baggers now rant about.

  29. Anonymous says:

    There's blood in the water over on NNN and the sharks are circling the Nelson defenders. Looks like Ben's running out of friends in his own camp.

    Dave Sund for City Council? Nope, we'd need somebody even more corrupt.

    How about Ian Russell? He doesn't have any scruples at all. That is if he's not too busy skimming the bucks out of the donation hat over at the White campaign headquarters. Is it true that we taxpayers are paying him to run White's legislative office while he runs White's campaign? Is that legal?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wow, not only does Tom White only buy from the Big L for his 2nd District Race, he doesn't even have the integrity to pay his campaign manager a salary so he can take him off the taxpayer rolls?

    Tom White is a schmuck.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Not to mention Tom White has no problem taking $4,000 from Nancy Pelosi, but he won't even take the phone calls from constituents.

  32. Anonymous says:

    You gotta call his Law Office and ask for Ian and then you can get through. Tell him that you've just fallen and you can't get up. See if he can at least send a Paralegal to take your statement.LOL

  33. Anonymous says:

    8:00

    White has been paying his campaign manager. He's paying him out of his legislature campaign committee.

    This is a clear violation of FEC law.

  34. J. Craig says:

    I saw Chris Jerram repeatedly at Burger Lust having a couple Triple Cheeseburgers over the last few weeks. Is he having Louie M appointed to the city council?

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