Omaha primary election scheduled for Tuesday

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Associated Press

Posted on April 2, 2013 at 9:05 AM

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Authorities expect a low turnout for Tuesday's primary election in Omaha, which includes races for the mayor's office, the City Council and school board.

Polls are scheduled to open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. The top two finishers in each race advance to the May 14 general election.

Six candidates have been campaigning for a seat in the mayor's office, hoping to force out incumbent Jim Suttle. Suttle, a Democrat, is seeking his second term in the officially nonpartisan election. Three of his top four challengers are Republicans; the fourth is running as an independent.

The mayor's race has been marked by several contentious debates, accusations of misleading political ads and promises by each that he or she would do a better job than the others.

Issues vary across the city. Candidate and City Council member Jean Stothert said the concerns in the newer parts of Omaha west of Interstate 680 were taxes, spending and smarter city budgets. Crime was the issue on the east side of the interstate, she said.

The race for the seat, which currently pays about $110,000 a year, has been relatively expensive. The most recent campaign filings with the state show, for example, that Suttle had spent the most: $422,000, with $140,000 on hand. He spent about $250,000 in the 2009 primary.

The seven City Council races show five candidates on the ballot in districts 2 and 7 and fewer in each of the remaining five.

The revamped Omaha school board has elections in all nine new districts created by the Legislature. In February state lawmakers passed a measure that trimmed the board to nine seats from 12 and put all the seats up for election.

Some critics had called the board unwieldy and ill-led. They cited as an example that four new board members and two who were re-elected in November missed a January deadline to take their oaths of office. Douglas County Attorney Doug Kleine said the failure to swear in the members before the deadline violated state law.

The legislative action resolved the legal issue.

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