A record-hot election day generated lukewarm voter turnout in Omaha.
The city’s high temperature of 101 degrees set a record Tuesday that voters couldn’t match, even with the hot-button issues of taxes, schools, potholes, unions and guns.
Voters selected a mayor, a new Omaha school board and seven Omaha City Council members. Millard Public Schools voters decided on a $79.9 million bond issue.
The temperature was peaking when Don Gearhart II crossed a strip mall’s asphalt parking and voted in the youth ministry room at Lord of Hosts Church in Millard. Gearhart said he marked his ballot for mayoral candidate Jean Stothert, despite voting for Mayor Jim Suttle four years ago and then voting against recalling him in a 2011 special election.
“She did a good job on the (Millard) school board and the City Council,’’ Gearhart said. “He seems to like to take credit for everything — everything good.’’
Dave Brown, a voter at the Omaha Home for Boys near 52nd Street and Ames Avenue, supported Suttle.
“(Stothert) never says what she’s going to do,” Brown said. “All she says are things Mayor Suttle isn’t doing.”
Jim Hadfield, at Clair Memorial United Methodist Church near 60th Street and Ames Avenue, said it was time for a new mayor.
“If Jean Stothert does any worse of a job than Mayor Suttle, there won’t be a city of Omaha,” Hadfield said.
Symone Sanders said Suttle has done a good job. Sanders said she likes having women in politics, but “I can’t vote for (Stothert) just because she’s a woman.”
Harvey Applegate, 77, who voted at Harvey Oaks Baptist Church in southwest Omaha, said “squaring away” city finances was his top concern.
“Right now, the police and fire unions are running the city,” he said.
Applegate said he liked what Stothert said during the campaign about addressing the city’s finances, “but the question is, can she execute it?”
Former Mayors Mike Fahey and Hal Daub weren’t able to solve the problem, he said, and Suttle is trying. Applegate said he voted to re-elect Suttle.
At Beveridge Magnet Middle School, 1616 S. 120th St., Terrel Beckwith said he voted for Stothert out of his weariness of government leaders turning too quickly to raising taxes to solve problems.
“Let’s not tax our way out of every single problem,” said Beckwith, 56, a business analyst at Real Estate Brokerage Co.
Retired attorney Terry Ferguson, 70, said concerns over the city’s finances were his top issue as he voted at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church near Memorial Park.
“I prefer to have Suttle deal with this than Stothert,” he said.
Gun rights tilted Dusty and Erin Love toward Stothert, who opposes tighter gun-control laws. Suttle supported a ban on assault-style weapons in Omaha.
“I want to have my gun for protection,’’ said Erin, 30, after voting at Paddock Road Elementary School in southwest Omaha.
Seven miles across the city at Hanscom Park Pavilion, Chris Goodrich said he voted for Stothert because of Suttle’s gun control stance.
Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps said the election may have been the quietest in the decade that he has worked in the office.
“We spent most of day wondering, ‘Are the phones still on?’ ’’ Phipps said. “Most people paid attention and seemed to know where to go.’’
Phipps expected about 35 percent voter turnout after all ballots are counted.
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