Photo by George Lauby
LINCOLN--Ernie Chambers of Omaha will reappear along with at least nine new faces when the Nebraska Legislature convenes in January.
Chambers handily defeated incumbent Brenda J. Council, but two more incumbents -- Paul Lambert of Plattsmouth and Ken Haar of Malcolm -- were in tight reelection battles.
The nine open seats also will bring some political newcomers to Lincoln, including rancher Al Davis of Hyannis.
With 77 percent of precincts reporting statewide, here is how races in Greater Nebraska stood:
Republican Al Davis of Hyannis will be the new senator of District 43, the seat vacated by Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine.
With 80 percent of the precincts reporting, a close race had Davis with 52.6 percent of the vote. Davis is a rancher who graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in economics and history. He defeated Republican John W. Ravenscroft of Nenzel. Ravenscroft is a former Vietnam veteran and a rancher.
Republican Dan Watermeier won in a close race with 52 percent of the votes for Nebraska’s First District. Watermeier beat out Democrat Jerry Joy of Stella, Neb., and is in favor of reducing property tax on agricultural land.
Incumbent Charlie Janssen of Fremont retains his District 15 seat with a 67 percent vote over recent college graduate Mike Peterson, with 62 percent of precincts reporting. Janssen pointed to his co-sponsoring of LB970, which lowered rates for the first three brackets of the state income tax schedule and LB959, under which Nebraska gives immunity from lawsuits to employers who give negative job references for former employees.
The incumbent, Republican Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins, has been re-elected to represent District 17. With 67 percent of precincts reporting, Bloomfield held 62 percent of the vote. Bloomfield served in the Army, was a farmer and served on the Jackson, Neb. school board. He beat out Van Phillips of South Sioux City. Phillips was a superintendent of schools for 31 years.
Jim Scheer of Norfolk takes District 19’s empty seat left by Speaker Mike Flood, who was term-limited out, with a 79 percent lead with 77 percent of precincts reporting. Scheer was mayor of Norfolk for two years and spent two decades on the Norfolk board of education. Scheer said he would like to address ways to reverse the decline of population in rural areas and the important role education plays in that issue. Scheer competed against William Goodpasture, the former Stanton County commissioner who was arrested earlier this year for false candidate filing.
Republican Jerry Johnson of Wahoo will be the new senator for District 23, an open seat. With 64 percent of precincts reporting, Johnson held 53.8 percent of the vote. Johnson is the former Wahoo mayor and a retired farm co-op manager. He defeated Democrat Vern Barrett of Ceresco. Barrett taught at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln’s College of Agriculture where he was a UNL Leadership Extension Specialist.
Incumbent Les Seiler will keep his seat for District 33. Seiler, who is against voter I.D. bills, beat fellow Republican Marvin Butch Hughes, a retired farmer and contractor from Hastings. With 84 percent of the precincts counted, Seiler was ahead with 67 percent of the votes.
Incumbent Mike Gloor of Grand Island was unopposed.
Incumbent Republican Galen Hadley of Kearney will continue to represent District 37. With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Hadley held 52.7 percent of the vote. Hadley is the former mayor of Kearney as well as the former Dean of the College of Business at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He defeated challenger Republican Josiah H. Woodward of Kearney who is the current Buffalo County assessor.
With 60 percent of precincts counted, District 41 has reelected incumbent Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids with 81 percent of the vote. Sullivan, who is on the board of directors for Cedar Rapids State Bank, ousted Brook Curtiss, owner and publisher of The Plainview News. Sullivan has had six introduced bills passed during her tenure, including the Oil Pipeline Reclamation Act, which mandates oil companies to take reparative measures to nature areas caused by construction of a pipeline.
Incumbent Ken Schilz of Ogallala was unopposed.