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Live updates: Neary still leads Harris in race to face Stothert in May election
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Live updates: Neary still leads Harris in race to face Stothert in May election

10:55 p.m. — R.J. Neary remained ahead of Jasmine Harris for second place in the mayoral race, but at least 12,000 absentee votes are still to be counted.

Election officials won't add those votes to the tally until Friday.

Incumbent Mayor Jean Stothert will advance to the May 11 general election after garnering 59% of the vote. But Neary held only a 1,714-vote edge over Harris for second place. 

In the District 3 race for City Council, Danny Begley finished first and Cammy Watkins finished second; both will advance to the May 11 general election. Begley and Watkins were among four candidates running to replace Chris Jerram, who is stepping aside after serving in the seat since 2009.

Omaha City Council incumbents will advance in Districts 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7.

District 5 remained a close race, with Don Rowe in the lead. Kathleen R. Kauth was narrowly ahead of Patrick Leahy for second place. Incumbent Colleen Brennan, who was appointed to her council seat, will not advance to the general election.

Here are the returns:

Omaha Mayor

Kimara Snipes 5,827

RJ Neary 11,088

Jean Stothert 42,834

Jasmine L. Harris 9,374

Mark Gudgel 3,259

Omaha City Council District 1

Pete Festersen 6,427

Paul Anderson 691

Sarah Johnson 2,662

Tyeisha Kosmicki 1,733

Omaha City Council District 2

Jonathan C. Lathan 1,215

Juanita Johnson 1,244

Ben Gray 2,291

Cornelius F. Williams 188

Steven Abraham 282

David Mitchell 445

Omaha City Council District 3

Danny Begley 3,716

Gilbert Ayala 1,255

Cammy Watkins 3,268

Jen Bauer 1,149

Omaha City Council District 4

Vinny Palermo 2,638

Sarah Smolen 788

Ben Cass 770

Becky Barrientos-Patlan 1,259

Omaha City Council District 5

Don Rowe 2,277

Jeff Moore 1,450

Patrick Leahy 2,050

Colleen Brennan 1,449

Kathleen R. Kauth 2,097

Destiny Stark 331

Kate Gotsdiner 1,368

Omaha City Council District 6

Naomi Hattaway 5,189

Brinker Harding 9,159

Omaha City Council District 7

Sara Kohen 5,801

Aimee Melton 6,381

*****

9:55 p.m. — The race for second in the Omaha mayoral primary narrowed a bit in the latest release of election results, but RJ Neary continued to lead fellow Democrat Jasmine Harris for the chance to run against Mayor Jean Stothert.

Stothert, a Republican seeking a third term in the officially nonpartisan race, easily won Tuesday's primary with 60% of the vote. She will face either Neary or Harris in the May 11 general election.

Neary was ahead of Harris by 2,787 votes, as of the 9:45 p.m. results from the Douglas County Election Commission. 

In District 5, recently appointed council member Colleen Brennan continued to run fourth in a seven-candidate race and appeared unlikely to advance to the general election. Don Rowe and Patrick Leahy were ahead, with Kathleen R. Kauth close behind.

Other council incumbents were leading in their races. 

In District 3, the only council race without an incumbent, Danny Begley and Cammy Watkins appeared likely to advance. 

Here are the returns:

Omaha Mayor

Jean Stothert 40,103

RJ Neary 10,392

Jasmine L. Harris 7,605

Kimara Snipes 5,321

Mark Gudgel 2,984

Omaha City Council District 1

Pete Festersen 5,866

Paul Anderson 581

Sarah Johnson 2,257

Tyeisha Kosmicki 1,321

Omaha City Council District 2

Jonathan C. Lathan 1,034

Juanita Johnson 935

Ben Gray 2,007

Cornelius F. Williams 146

Steven Abraham 225

David Mitchell 345

Omaha City Council District 3

Danny Begley 3,415

Gilbert Ayala 1,041

Cammy Watkins 2,717

Jen Bauer 1,043

Omaha City Council District 4

Vinny Palermo 2,368

Sarah Smolen 699

Ben Cass 703

Becky Barrientos-Patlan 1,082

Omaha City Council District 5

Don Rowe 2,127

Jeff Moore 1,358

Patrick Leahy 1,977

Colleen Brennan 1,395

Kathleen R. Kauth 1,880

Destiny Stark 314

Kate Gotsdiner 1,313

Omaha City Council District 6

Naomi Hattaway 5,036

Brinker Harding 8,818

Omaha City Council District 7

Sara Kohen 5,661

Aimee Melton 6,154

*****

9:20 p.m. — Mayoral candidate Jasmine Harris, speaking shortly after 9 p.m., thanked her team and noted that the results were still rolling in, but the primary has already been "history in the making."

"There have been more than 60,000 votes put in already," she said. "That's more than any municipal race in the history of Omaha primaries."

Harris, 40, who was in third place as of the latest returns, said she and her team were "very encouraged" by the results so far.

"Tonight is about a movement," Harris said. "This campaign has been about centering people and ensuring that people have their voices heard, that people are a part of the process at City Hall, in our government. That they were being more engaged in how our city is being ran."

*****

8:55 p.m. — In results released by the Douglas County Election Commission at 8:45 p.m., incumbent Mayor Jean Stothert retained her strong early lead, while challenger RJ Neary remained second in a five-candidate mayoral field.

In District 5, recently appointed council member Colleen Brennan continued to run fourth in a seven-candidate race.

In a tight Council District 7 race, incumbent Aimee Melton took over the lead over Sara Kohen, with 5,235 votes for Melton vs. 5,148 votes for Kohen. Both candidates will advance to the general election.

Here are the returns:

Omaha Mayor

Kimara Snipes 4,624

RJ Neary 8,910

Jean Stothert 31,295

Jasmine L. Harris 5,062

Mark Gudgel 2,449

Omaha City Council District 1

Pete Festersen 5,701

Paul Anderson 536

Sarah Johnson 2,121

Tyeisha Kosmicki 1,146

Omaha City Council District 2

Jonathan C. Lathan 956

Juanita Johnson 833

Ben Gray 1,908

Cornelius F. Williams 135

Steven Abraham 198

David Mitchell 299

Omaha City Council District 3

Danny Begley 3,179

Gilbert Ayala 900

Cammy Watkins 2,494

Jen Bauer 963

Omaha City Council District 4

Vinny Palermo 2,204

Sarah Smolen 635

Ben Cass 671

Becky Barrientos-Patlan 960

Omaha City Council District 5

Don Rowe 1,871

Jeff Moore 1,236

Patrick Leahy 1,831

Colleen Brennan 1,297

Kathleen R. Kauth 1,660

Destiny Stark 273

Kate Gotsdiner 1,223

Omaha City Council District 6

Naomi Hattaway 4,620

Brinker Harding 7,930

Omaha City Council District 7

Sara Kohen 5,148

Aimee Melton 5,235

*****

8:45 p.m. — Mayoral candidate RJ Neary spoke at his headquarters shortly after the 8 p.m. results were released.

The 68-year-old, who was in second place and on track to advance from the primary, thanked his family and volunteers before speaking confidently about his prospects for the May 11 general election.

"We're going forward with my family and my supporters and my volunteers and we're gonna go on the next five weeks," Neary said. "What I've found is that when people hear about my path forward they respond...and they want to see Omaha with a strong urban core that's very livable and thriving and they want to see an Omaha that's connected, equitable and fair."

*****

8:20 p.m. — Mayor Jean Stothert is on track to easily reach the May 11 general election in Omaha's mayoral race, with commercial real estate broker RJ Neary running a distant second in the first primary returns.

Stothert had 31,295 or nearly 60% of the first 52,384 votes counted for mayor, representing early ballots received through Monday. Results from Tuesday's voting will be counted later this evening.

Neary had 8,910 votes in the first results, or about 17%. The top two vote-getters will go on to the general election. 

Nonprofit leader Jasmine Harris is in third with 5,062 votes, Omaha Public Schools board member Kimara Snipes is next with 4,624 and North High School teacher Mark Gudgel trails with 2,449. 

At Stothert's campaign headquarters near 102nd and Maple Streets, former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman called his fellow Republican’s early lead "impressive."

In a five-way race, Heineman said it would be a good sign for any incumbent to hit about 40% of the vote. Stothert did much better than that.

"I think it reflects the fact that the people of Omaha have great respect for Mayor Stothert," Heineman said.

He said Omaha has been fortunate during the pandemic to have a mayor who has a background in health care. Stothert was a former critical care nurse.

Stothert's four challengers are all Democrats.

The next round of results is expected to be released by the Douglas County Election Commission about 8:45 p.m.

Tuesday's election also included the primary for the seven City Council districts.

Incumbent Pete Festersen was leading in the race for District 1, which includes Dundee, Benson and Florence, with 5,120 votes. Sarah Johnson was in second with 1,787, well ahead of two other candidates.

Incumbent Ben Gray was ahead of five challengers in the race to retain his northeast Omaha District 2 city council seat. Based on early voting through Monday, Gray received 1,707 votes. He was followed by Jonathan C. Lathan with 813 votes.

Danny Begley’s 2,775 votes put him ahead in the race to represent District 3, which includes downtown and midtown Omaha. Cammy Watkins was in second with 2,052 votes.

The four District 3 candidates seek to replace Chris Jerram, who is stepping aside after serving in the seat since 2009.

Leading South Omaha's District 4 City Council race was incumbent Vinny Palermo with 1,903 votes. In second was Becky Barrientos-Patlan with 752 votes, but Ben Cass (580 votes) and Sarah Smolen (544) were close behind. 

In southwest Omaha’s District 5, newly appointed council member Colleen Brennan was trailing, in fourth place, with 1,197 votes. Patrick Leahy received the most votes, with 1,714. He was followed by Don Rowe with 1,542 and Kathleen Kauth with 1,306. Other candidates are Kate Gotsdiner, Jeff Moore and Destiny Stark. 

Northwest Omaha’s District 7 race and west-central Omaha’s District 6 contest have one incumbent and one challenger, both of whom will move on to the general election.

Incumbent Brinker Harding was in the lead for the District 6 seat with 6,792 votes to Naomi Hattaway’s 4,311.

Challenger Sara Kohen was leading incumbent Aimee Melton in the District 7 council race. Kohen garnered 4,789 votes, and Melton received 4,354 in early returns.

The top two vote-getters in the mayoral race and the seven City Council districts, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the May 11 general election.

Stay with Omaha.com for more updates on the city primary election.


Omaha mayors, from the beginning to now

jwade@owh.com, 402-444-1067

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Jessica Wade covers breaking news, crime and the Omaha zoo. Follow her on Twitter @Jess_Wade_OWH. Phone: 402-444-1067

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