The Democratic ticket had a great night on April 9. Leirion Gaylor Baird won the mayoral primary and Democratic candidates finished first in all of the City Council races. Despite those successes, we still have a lot of work to do to win the general election on May 7. As we know, past performance is not always an indicator of future outcomes. We have our work cut out for us. Ricketts, the local Republican Party and LIBA aren’t going to roll over and play dead.
Leirion Gaylor Baird won an impressive 42% of the vote in the five way mayoral primary while GOP candidate Cyndi Lamm picked up 36% of the vote. Between the two of them, Leirion and fellow Democrat Jeff Kirkpatrick carried 59% of the vote. Jeff has since endorsed Leirion and it is unlikely that many of Kirkpatrick’s voters will support the GOP candidate.
Lamm ran a highly partisan and divisive primary campaign aimed at picking up the votes of hard core Republicans only. Her advertising emphasized her fealty to Trump and support for the agenda of the radical right on women’s health care and guns. At the same time, at candidate forums, Lamm would talk like a responsible moderate. If you simply listened to Lamm, one would have no idea she is a right wing extremist.
Lamm is counting on voter amnesia in the general election. She is hoping the voters have forgotten about her extreme anti-LGBT history and under the radar radical right wing campaign. As Democrats, we must let the voters know about the real Cyndi Lamm — not the faux moderate.
Leirion is well positioned to win the general election campaign because no Republican has been elected mayor since Mike Johanns was re-elected in 1995. Every Republican until Lamm has run as a moderate and Leirion is running a great campaign. Nonetheless, we can take nothing for granted.
When she is elected, Leirion will need help. That’s why the City Council races are so important. She can’t get much done without a Democratic majority on the Council. I expect the Republicans and LIBA to abandon Lamm and dump a bunch of money into the Council races in an attempt to gridlock Leirion’s forward looking agenda.
Jane Raybould is well positioned to get re-elected in District 3 since she crushed her Republican challenger by a margin of 68% to 32%. Jane is well known and well respected in a district where the numbers favor the Democrats. The incumbent member of the City Council loves to go door to door and will work hard before May 7 on behalf of herself and Leirion.
Tammy Ward made a similar impressive showing in District 4 where she is running to replace Democratic incumbent Carl Eskridge. Tammy received 49% of the vote in a three way race and is running an excellent campaign. Between the two of them, Tammy and fellow Democrat Cassey Lottman tallied 70% of the vote to a Libertarian candidates’ 28%.
The key races will be in Districts 1 and 2. The closest race of the primary cycle was James Michael Bowers’ 61 vote margin of victory in District 1 over his Republican opponent. This is yet more evidence that every vote counts.
In southeast Lincoln in District 2, Megan Stock carried 40% of the vote and finished first. She will now face off against Republican Richard Meginnis in the general election. This is a challenging district for a Democrat but there is a path to victory for Megan. In 2015, Democrat Patte Newman came close to knocking off then GOP incumbent Jon Camp.
The City Council races are especially critical since the Council will be selecting Leirion’s successor once she is elected Mayor. In the unlikely event the Republican candidates defeat both James Michael and Megan, a City Council consisting of three Democrats and three Republicans will choose Leirion’s successor. Those three Republicans will either force a compromise candidate who will slow down Leirion’s agenda or be content with a six member Council. In that case, the Republicans on the Council will bring to Lincoln the GOP’s poisonous D.C. style gridlock.
Ricketts, the Lancaster County Republicans and LIBA are all aware of this reality. They will spend whatever is necessary to create D.C. type gridlock here in Lincoln. Moreover, dark money from the notorious LIBA PAC will spread lies and disinformation about our candidates. We must stop the Ricketts-right wing take over of Lincoln and continue moving Lincoln forward.
Numerous indicators prove that Lincoln has been on the move under the leadership of Mayor Beutler and the Democrats on the Lincoln City Council. Lincoln has the lowest rate of unemployment of any medium sized city in the country. At the present time, unemployment is at a record low of 2.6%
Lincoln has also been deemed by reputable and non-partisan sources to be:
The happiest city in the U.S.
Number three hardest working city in America.
Number four large city to start a business.
Number six best city for families.
Number four best state capital.
Number two most caring city.
We have made tremendous strides since 2007 and we can’t let Ricketts and LIBA wreck that progress. Please volunteer your time and money to our great candidates. We can do this! Let’s win on May 7!