With less than 24 hours to go before the polls open, the race for mayor looks like it could be a close one. On Sunday, Robynn Tysver talked to voters and checked out campaign finance reports — and found that it’s going to be a tough race to call early.
Mayor Jim Suttle has raised $100,000 since April 29, while challenger Jean Stothert has brought in $67,000. In total, each of the candidates raised about $1.1 million.
Meanwhile, we spent time last week talking to the candidates and following them on the campaign trail.
Our colleague Matt Wynn broke down some of the more contentious taxing and spending issues that have divided Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and City Councilwoman Jean Stothert.
Over the last four years of fiscal fights, the two were never on equal footing — the mayor introduced complete budgets while the council could only amend his proposals, and the power to negotiate contracts changed from the mayor to the council in the past year.
While Suttle says he was trying to address serious financial problems, he says Stothert was the staunch “voice of no.” He’s accused her of playing politics, declining to name budget cuts unless he led the way. Stothert’s replied that the mayor has simply addressed city fiscal challenges with new taxes or fees.
Another ad from Mayor Jim Suttle’s campaign takes on Jean Stothert’s city finance ideas.
Last week was a big one for sparring between the Suttle and Stothert campaigns.
First, there was crime. Jean Stothert held a press conference Monday to challenge Mayor Jim Suttle’s claims that crime rates have been flat during his administration. She cited Omaha Police Department statistics that showed both violent and property crime going up over the last few years. A day later, Suttle fired back in his own press conference. His stats, also from OPD, showed crime dropping, and then staying flat.
So what gives? Both sets of statistics are correct. But we talked to experts who caution that any short-term look at crime can reveal skewed pictures of the real situation.
Jean Stothert’s campaign is running a new TV spot on a topic that’s gotten a lot of attention this week.
UPDATE, 4/22: Taxes were a hot topic at the first two events on the schedule. Here’s a look at what the candidates had to say about their plans.
The schedule of forums and debates for Mayor Jim Suttle and City Councilwoman Jean Stothert, at least for now:
» Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center Forum, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday, Omaha Marriott, 10220 Regency Circle.
» CREW 2013 Commercial Real Estate Workshop Mayoral Panel, 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Friday, CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.
» Omaha World-Herald Debate, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 23, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
» Metropolitan Hospitality Group Forum, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., April 24, DoubleTree Hotel, 1616 Dodge St.
» League of Women Voters/Omaha Press Club Debate, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 26, Omaha Press Club, 1620 Dodge St.
» Downtown Improvement District Board Meeting (candidates will speak and answer questions from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.), April 30, 16th floor of First National Bank Building, 1620 Dodge St.
City Councilmember Jean Stothert‘s mayoral campaign has posted a new television ad.
If you missed it this weekend, be sure to read Paul Goodsell and Matt Wynn’s well-crafted breakdown of the mayoral primary result.
The takeaway? There’s no question that Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle had a rough primary election last week. But despite his weak showing, Suttle still has a chance to catch up to front-runner Jean Stothert.
Consider (and click around) the map embedded in this post: