Suttle still strong with previous donors

Suttle still strong with previous donors

By Matt Wynn February 19, 2013 11:12 am Comments

Other campaigns throw out a lot of words to describe Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. “Damaged.” “Unpopular.” “Weak.”

But Suttle’s standing with his previous supporters is in great shape. a World-Herald analysis found that three out of four of his previous donors who are active in this race are again backing the mayor.

That’s the highest rate among any of the five contenders, though it’s not exactly a fair comparison. None of the challengers have ever mounted a citywide race. So while previous supporters may have thought someone would make a fine city council member or state senator or even governor, they may be less sure about the candidate’s readiness for the mayor’s office.

Businessman Dave Nabity has the second highest support among previous donors. That’s not terribly surprising.  People who donated to his last stab at public office —  a longshot bid for governor in 2004 against Dave Heineman and Tom Osborne — are likely big believers in what Nabity stands for. City Councilwoman Jean Stothert was in the middle, with about 50 percent of her former donors supporting her again. Former City Council president Dan Welch and state senator Brad Ashford round out the list, with each getting around 40 percent of their former donors back on board.

One interesting tidbit that didn’t make the story is how donors are hedging their bets. It’s not terribly common — only about three dozen donors are supporting more than one candidate. But the most common combination? Councilwoman Jean Stothert and businessman Dave Nabity.

Paul Landow, a professor of political science at UNO, said it makes sense that Nabity and Stothert would share many of the same supporters. They both appeal to tea party interest he said, while the third Republican candidate, Welch, doesn’t. At least not yet.

“Welch is still getting started,” Landow said. “I would venture to say that when it’s all said and done, the three of them will be pretty even.”