Some thoughts on yesterday’s Lincoln elections…
Andy Stebbing did better than many expected. A six-point margin (less than 3,000 votes) is nothing to be ashamed of.
What was missing was sufficient resources to consistently pound Beutler on his greatest liabilities–Lincoln’s streets and roads and spending scare resources on public art and green projects.
If Lincoln wants public art, there are plenty of art benefactors (hello? Duncan family?) who can fund it with private dollars.
Yes, Democrat Chris Beutler was elected to his third term as Lincoln’s Mayor. At his age, it is most certainly his last.
So, let the games begin for Lincoln Mayor 2019!
On the Democrat side:
- Leirion Gaylor Baird
- Jane Raybould.
On the Republican side:
- Andy Stebbing
- Roy Christensen
- County Commissioner Deb Schorr
- UN Regent Tim Clare
- and…a likely wild-card…
…Someone under the age of 50, from Lincoln’s business community who has been a part of the development of Lincoln’s Haymarket. But who understands that Lincoln’s basic needs (roads, law enforcement) are not being met. And can put Lincoln’s financial house in order (the bill for Beutler’s development has yet to come).
Expect Sen. Sasse to start searching for and grooming a candidate that mirrors his philosophy of constructive conservatism.
Even Democratic leaders acknowledge that their only avenue to success-even in our budding “Portland-on-the-Plains”–is to move to the center.
As noted in the Omaha World-Herald, Lancaster County Democratic Party Chair John Yoakum said that the “game is played in the middle” and he highlighted Beutler’s “pro-growth” agenda. Not exactly the agenda Nebraska Democrats have run on as of late.
Roads ain’t goin’ away. Beutler acknowledged in a post-election interview on Lincoln’s KLIN radio that he has work to do and the focus must be on Lincoln’s streets and roads.
The question is whether he’ll seek more tax revenue to accomplish that, or whether he’ll have the courage to take a knife to the city’s bloated budget.
While Republicans may have lost the mayoral battle, they captured a majority on the City Council. The new Council will hopefully hold the line on Beutler’s free-spending and misplaced priorities.
Newcomer Cyndi Lamm simply outworked her opponent and understood that serving on City Council is about more than one social issue.
Republican Jon Camp likely took some antacids throughout the night given he started the night down, but eventually prevailed. The lesson for Councilman Camp and others running for office: if you want to win, even as an incumbent, be prepared to work and campaign for it.
Democrat Jane Raybould ran unopposed (the under-vote appears to be significant) and was elected to the Lincoln City Council, giving her another platform after she chose to run unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor rather than re-election of the Lancaster County Board.
While on the County Board, Raybould successfully got to the right of the Republican commissioners on spending issues. While Raybould will attempt to cast herself as a budget hawk on the City Council, she’s not likely to be as successful as she was on the County Board.
First, the Republicans–in particular Roy Christensen and Jon Camp–won’t let her get away with it (the Republicans on the County Board during her tenure tend to act like Republicans in the Nebraska Legislature).
Second, as one of the 3 Democrats on the Council, she’ll be forced to carry more of Mayor Beutler’s water.
Third, as county board members began to learn with time, her schtick is ungenuine and tends to wear on people after time.
All that being said, look for her to continue to position herself as the strongest challenger Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has faced to date. Whether the Republicans on the Council will force her to cast a few tough votes remains to be seen.
Kudos to Mairead Safranek for stepping up to run a decent campaign in a very difficult district. Party leaders should look for opportunities to use Ms. Safranek as the face of the future of the party.
Lincolnites are willing to challenge the myth that “LINCOLN PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE THE BEST EVER!”
Sorry folks, we don’t have the best public schools in the nation–there is A LOT that can be done to improve them and to focus on educating our future leaders and workforce in a cost-effective manner.
Newcomer Matt Schulte overcame an onslaught of spending by the teacher’s unions and was elected to District 6 of the Lincoln Public Schools Board.
Matt is badly outnumbered on the Board–time will tell whether he can be effective given the hand he was dealt.