Talking OMAHA politics

Jean Stothert and Heath Mello (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...)

OK lovers of local politics. Here is a break from the the throbbing pulse of information and spin on the Presidential front.

We are only 10 months out from the Omaha Mayor and City Council primaries! (293 days, to be exact.)

So, after a little digging around, Leavenworth St. has put together an (incomplete!) list of possible candidates for those primaries.

Without much additional input, here ya go:

Mayor Jean Stothert
Heath Mello
R.J. Neary

Mayor Stothert is running for re-election, and as of 12/31/15 had Cash on Hand of $593K.

We hear various versions of “Mello is definitely running” to “Mello is thinking about running.” He did some polling, and is still likely kicking the tires, as he wouldn’t walk into a buzzsaw if he saw it coming.

That being said, he has $233K COH.

Just heard the name of R.J. Neary, and that’s about it. Leavenworth St. has also heard that there are few other prominent Democrats interested.


District 1
Pete Festersen
No one else

Festersen will likely run, but some say he could find that he is too busy with other things.


District 2
Ben Gray
Nobody else.


District 3
Chris Jerram.
Jim Vokal

Jerram, Council Vice President, recently had to serve as acting Mayor. No word on whether or not he had t-shirts made up to celebrate the occasion.

Vokal? His name has been bandied about recently. Wouldn’t be completely unexpected.


District 4
Gary Gernandt
Heath Mello

Very unlikely that these two would run against each other. Some have said that Mello will wait until the last minute financially possible to decide to run, or not, for Mayor. The CW goes that if he decides no, Gernandt will drop out, and Mello will run for Council — effectively icing out any other challengers.


Dstrict 5
Rich Pahls
Dave Nabity

Haven’t heard much about Pahls except assumptions that he is running, but not really raising money ($11K COH at 12/31/16).

Leavenworth St. has heard from several sources that Nabity is thinking about it.


District 6
Franklin Thompson
Brinker Harding
Mike Pate

Franklin Thompson has said publicly that he probably is NOT running — and some put him running at somewhere around 20% probability. Could go either way.

Leavenworth St. has heard from several sources that Harding (real estate executive, former Hal Daub aide and Chairman of the Omaha Planning Board) is very probable.

Millard School Board member Mike Pate is said to be thinking about it, or otherwise possible.


District 7
Aimee Melton
Nobody else.

Have some insights or thoughts?
You know what to do.

(And for private thoughts, you can email at LeavenworthSt at Gmail-dot-com.)


Time for Deep Presidential Thoughts

There is a very interesting read of an interview with three top Republican candidate advisors.

A Huffington Post reporter sits down with Jeb Bush’s chief, Ted Cruz’s chief, and Marco Rubio’s communications director. They give a candid review of where they failed, what they should have done, and where they see things going this summer and fall.

Ted Cruz’s manager, Jeff Roe, who is described as, “one of the sharpest minds in Republican politics, the next Karl Rove,” said this about how the ultimate state-by-state battle may end up (when asked about a Hillary VP choice):

I believe in base elections, and I believe in turnout. I believe that this election will be condensed into seven to 10 states and the actual number of people who still need to make up their mind is very small.

We chase these people relentlessly. In actuality, though, if you’re trying to get another 10,000 votes in Loudoun County, Virginia, I think you can find those 10,000 votes more easily with people who already believe in you but aren’t likely to vote than you are by getting undecideds to vote for you.

So I fear Democrats running a base campaign, directed toward liberals, maximizing that vote, and electing a devastating ticket. But if her philosophy is based on capturing the ever-shrinking middle, then she should do Tim Kaine.

One thing that’s telling about this, is that he doesn’t talk about how Trump would or could turn those 10,000 votes in Loudoun County (think a highly populated Elkhorn-type area). The thought by many is that Trump doesn’t have the organization to get those non-likely to actually turn out.

That being said, Roe also think Trump could win:

There are 120 days until early voting, 153 days until Election Day. The ground game—a good organization—gets you anywhere between 2.5 and 5.5 points, and if he’s giving all that away, that’s a problem. But I think he can win. I can see a Trump victory. I can see a Clinton blowout. And I think we’ll end up somewhere between.

If you like this kind of stuff, it’s a fairly candid view of the election so far from those in it up to their eyeballs.



For all of your hot-reads and instant takes, you gotta follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter!

And then Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or subscribe for email updates up top on the right.

Because it is how YOU stay updated on the talk of Nebraska politics!


  1. Bluejay says:

    Jean is a lock.

    I certainly hope Vokal runs and unseats Jerram. How Jerram continues to serve on the Council with his law firm’s liquor license business is an outrage. I guess it was allowed by the State but it still stinks. Vokal should go full Trump on Jerram.

    Jerram is a nasty piece of work. Nasty.

  2. Sparkles says:

    The HuffPo interview of the campaign advisors for Bush, Cruz and Rubio is indeed interesting.

    What I found most interesting was the consensus of opinion –
    “..not one of them is prepared to vote for Trump.”

    Another telling insight was the story relayed by Alex Conant (Rubio) who, after Rubio exited the race, did a bipartisan State Dept sponsored speaking tour of Australia. He relays trying to assuage the widely expressed fear by Australian politicians should Trump actually win:
    “.. no matter how bad you think he might be, our country is stronger. We’ve had bad presidents in the past.”

    Just for contrast, Pew did an interesting global survey, published June 24, 2015. On the question:
    Percent who have a lot/some confidence in U.S. President Barack Obama to do the right thing regarding world affairs
    Australia = 81% confidence in President Obama
    Canada 76%
    India 74%
    South Korea 88%
    France 83%
    Japan 66%
    U.K. 76%
    Germany 73%
    U.S. 58%

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        Because Trump today came out saying that if you’re on the no fly list you shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms. Which is pretty much antithetical to any conservatives reasoning. He’s saying that if the government can take away one of you’re rights on the constitution without any sort of due process. Seems like this will be the first in a long line of things that Trump will turn out to be just as liberal as Hilary on. Hope Nebraska Right to Life and other conservative orgs are paying attention.

        Vote for Trump? No thanks. Not gonna happen. I’m with Ben Sasse and don’t feel like setting conservatism back to the stone age & give the Dems every election for the next twenty five years. I’ll sit this one out.

      • Sparkles says:


        For some, the welfare of a nation and the security of your family and loved ones, comes before party.

      • The Grundle King says:

        “If there was due process…”

        That’s the key, now isn’t it? The Democrats don’t seem too concerned about due process at all, and are all to happy to go ahead and ban guns from those on a ‘no-fly’ list or ‘terror watch’ list…and maybe they’ll get around to that whole ‘due process’ bit later.

        If they feel like it.

        Which they won’t.

        Because it might mean people getting guns back.

        The due process part MUST be fixed first. If they can deny you of one Constitutional right without due process, they can deny all your rights without due process.

      • Sparkles says:


        You must have missed the memo from Larry Pratt, the former CEO of Gun Owners of America – a group more radical than even the NRA.
        On June 2, in an interview on the ‘Gun Owners New Hour’ radio program, Pratt advised his loyal listeners that, should the coming election not go the way they’d like:
        “..we may have to reassert that proper constitutional balance, and it may not be pretty. So, I’d much rather have an election where we solve this matter at the ballot box than have to resort to the bullet box.”


      • The Grundle King says:

        Maybe when you’re not busy obsessing over words from someone I’ve never met, you might actually get around to addressing the points I raised.

        Or not.

        Your call.

      • Khan says:

        Grundle King:

        With regards to due process, not only are Democrats not too concerned with it, some are openly lamenting it, like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV:

        “Really, the firewall we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say we want the same thing, but how do we get there? If a person is on a terrorist watch list, like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando? He was twice by the FBI — we were briefed yesterday about what happened — but that young man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do. But there was no way to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun-buy list, there was no way to do that.

        So can’t we say that if a person’s under suspicion there should be a five-year period of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits? Maybe we can come to that type of an agreement, but due process is what’s killing us right now.

      • The Grundle King says:

        Great catch Khan!

        It’s a shame when any politician, be they Republican or Democrat, feels as though due process is little more than an obstacle that they must overcome in order to better micromanage the plebeian class. The thing that these folks keep forgetting/ignoring…from the city councils all the way up to Congress and the White House…is that they were elected to represent us and lead our communities, states, and country. The were not elected to rule us…though you’d be hard-pressed to convince them of that fact.

  3. I don’t do parties Rep/Dem in local politics! I go for the best person for the job! Mayor should be Mello, as a son of a Paramedic/Fireman I do not think Stothert’s Dislike for the Fire Department serves the tax payers of Omaha Well! A city the size of Omaha should also look into a city owned trash removal service!
    I do not feel Jean is up to seeking new money saving ventures!

    • Bluejay says:

      Given the nature of the fire and police defined benefit pension plans, low interest rates and early retirement ages, every single union guy is an effective millionaire after twenty years of service.

      Mello and Jerram are in on this log-rolling scam

      • repenting lawyer says:

        Bluejay, The problems with the pensions for uniformed city personal long predate the current council and mayor and what Mello has to do with it escapes me. The pensions are aspects of negotiated contracts, and the Charter mandates actuarily sound contributions. It was just Millionaires, prove it.easier to depend on high returns than follow the rule.

      • Bluejay says:


        $1,000,000 at 4% per year is $40,000; a sum less than the average pension. The US government 10 year bond is 1.58%. Like I said, they are all effective millionaires thanks to us.

      • repenting lawyer says:

        Bluejay, I thought that is what you meant, but I think it’s misleading, since it does not take into account life expectancy.

    • Khan says:

      I recall visiting some family up in Vancouver a few years ago. We had returned to their home after some sight-seeing, and found their neighborhood littered with garbage. They explained to us very nonchalantly that it was always a mess on trash pickup day, but hey, what do you do, eh?

      Wanna take a guess as to who owned and operated the trash removal service?

  4. Anonymous says:

    We should listen to the loser handlers for Jeb, Ted and Marco because they lost?

    If they knew why Trump beat their boys, their boys would have beaten Trump. I am quite sure they have no idea why they lost to Trump. After all, these guys are still talking like tons of donations for tons of paid ads is what wins, when in fact Trump’s “free” press was never about thrift but is all about the fact that every paid ad comes with a huge caveat that orders voters not to believe it, while Trump’s unpaid press came as real news, entirely believable by voters. Very persuasive.

    Usually Trump’s “free” press starts with him dropping this or that carefully sculpted and seemingly innocuous tidbit and then the most PC deluded on that topic make it their aim to crush him with some scathing remark that makes short range sense to themselves but to voters at a distance looks like the idiots shooting themselves.

    • Oracle says:

      6:34, you’ve identified the reason Trump won: the voters. You forgot to mention that a large majority of Republican voters have lost the ability to think instead of just emote. They seem unable to debunk the lies that Trump tells them, or they just don’t want to even though one can easily find multiple verifiable sources that will do this, and not just from “liberal” sites. Watch the movie “Idiocracy”. It supposedly takes place far in the future, but a majority of Republicans appear to ahead of the times.

      • anon says:

        What about these guys you adore lost to Trump and would have only have lost to Hillary, The problem was who they were, republicans that deserved to, and to keep reminding you what you fail to accept, did lose.

  5. Keep the Money with Loserbaugh says:

    O god please no more Mean Jean. She is the epitome of incompetency and totally unqualified and not very bright. Anybody running against her has a dozen items to list that she has screwed up.
    I live in Thompson’s district, 6 in the Westside district, and I can not believe that we here want some radial right winger like Thompson or Harding representing us. Thompson has failed in his terms and if you don’t believe me ask those on the council who refused for 8 years to award him Council President.
    PS Is there a more disgusting person in Nebraska than Scott Loserbaugh? I know there is a lot of competition. Here is a guy who quit on his constituents to take the money from the native american group who wants to exploit people by taking their gambling dollars. (By the way that issue if it does get on the ballot will be steamrolled.)

    • Bynd says:

      Ricky, yes there are more disgusting people. Those who shoot their mouth off complaining and degrading others while not having the self worth to run for any of these position.

    • Scott Lautenbaugh says:

      Ricky– As is consistently the case, you do not know what you are talking about. I left office with fewer than 60 days left in my term. We were not in session, and there was so little going on my successor– who had been elected– was not even sworn in early to serve in the gap. That was November of 2014. I left because I was in talks to do some consulting for an education group, and I didn’t think it was proper to do so and still be in office. I was hired by Keep the Money in Nebraska in August or September of 2015– it didn’t even exist when I left office.

      • Keep the Money with Loserbaugh says:

        Some people will do anything for money. Some people will take money from special interests to exploit problem gamblers when time and time again Nebraskans have voted down expanded gambling.
        Some people will work with special interests to draw partisan districts and take down elected school board representatives.
        Some people, like Rod Edwards and you and Beau McCoy will take money from conservatives even when they know they are in the wrong. Too bad this state is so full of Republicans but they are not thinking clearly.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Democrat establishment is freaking out as two of their favorite protected perpetual victim groups, Muslims and Gays, find an Orlando Gay Muslim Democrat being required by Islam, in his mind, to murder Americans but to shoot the gays first. And gays know it; as it dawns on gays that Christians and Republicans who vote against gay marriage policy are nothing compared to Mohammad’s call to murder gays which modern Muslims act upon. Gay or not, everyone sees that of all world beliefs, Islam seems the only one eager to slaughter those who disagree with Islam. And they all happen to be Democrats here. But that doesn’t stop Democrats and leftist Media from blaming Republicans.

    Democrats blame Republicans for feeling sorry for dead Gays at the hands of a Muslim Democrat gay, because Republican sympathy doesn’t extend to agreement that ass sex is Mother Nature’s idea of normal; or whatever reason one has for voting against gay marriage, which after all is a govt licensed contract. But agree or not agree with gayness as normal, Republicans and Christians aren’t murdering gays–Democrat Gay Muslims do that. (Similarly, Republicans aren’t drawing blood as rock throwing protesters at Dem rallies, Democrats are doing that at GOP Trump rallies.)

    Worse, Obama panics as he sees Hillary change her stance on Islam, scurrying for cover.

    Obama in a personal meltdown, angrier at Trump than at the Gay Muslim Democrat murderer. And everyone saw it in his face; his diseased personality revealed. Why? That’s easy… Obama sees himself mirrored in the Gay Muslim Democrat shooter. He hates seeing that mirror. To be gay and Muslim is to kill yourself. Obama has known this from a very early age.

    Obama sees his own conflicting gender-bent, Muslim immersion in Indonesia up to 5th grade; with total betrayal as a child by everyone he ever loved; his youthful poetry to his male abuser and his biographical lauding of transvestite nanny all belie traumatic serial abandonment by father, mother and grandparents to neglect and a pedophile; a horrifying childhood. Obama’s takeaway from this monstrous dysfunction is him absorbing his father’s hatred of America, as a way of honoring the father who never cared about the son. He literally published all this. His wife blurting “I never loved America until…”, was seen mirrored in Obama’s hateful countenance as he melted down about Trump… because he cannot stab Hillary, or stab his horrible parents who threw him away like garbage, or even blame slavery which never touched his ancestors but to enrich them. He is one sick puppy.

    Obama is a huge anchor on Hillary. And Hillary is already dragging her own bag of anchors.

  7. Jim says:

    i don’t look forward to debates AGAIN over the fire and police budgets, benefits, etc. Just give us one objective set of books, please.

    transparency would be great

    make this city election about real issues, real numbers, etc.

    if its about partisanship and personalities I will tune out, we get enough of that in the national races

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.