(Omaha, NE) -- Polls are open from 8am to 8pm tonight in a highly competitive mayoral election. Here are the candidates who are running to lead our city.
Jean Stothert is the incumbent mayor, running for a third term. She was a nurse and nursing supervisor who served on the Millard School Board and the Omaha City Council before being elected mayor in 2013. She is running on a public safety-centered platform, touting her expansion of the police force and work on reforming the department. Stothert has released a pandemic recovery strategy to expand police recruitment and ensure equitable distribution of federal aid money. Stothert has earned the endorsement of the Omaha Police Union. Learn more about her campaign at jeanstothert.com.
RJ Neary is the chairman of Investors Realty, a southwest Omaha-based real estate brokerage company. He is a former member of the City Planning Board and says that experience qualifies him to address Omaha's homelessness crisis. Neary's "Pathway for the Future" plan includes improving basic city services like road repairs and trash, as well as large-scale reforms on sustainability, transportation, and racial equity. He has been endorsed by former mayors Mike Fahey and Jim Suttle, as well as former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. He also received the backing the Omaha Federation of Labor and the Nebraska Sierra Club. Learn more about his campaign at nearyforomaha.com.
Kimara Snipes has been on the Omaha Public Schools board since 2017. She manages partnerships for the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table and leads the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. Snipes touts herself as the one candidate uniquely positioned to unify the city and improve the disparity in city services, as well as address community concerns over police reform. Snipes has been endorsed by congressional candidates Kara Eastman and Ann Ashford, former congressman Brad Ashford, and former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson. Learn more about her campaign at kimarasnipes.com.
Jasmine Harris is the director of public policy and advocacy at RISE Omaha, a nonprofit that helps convicted inmates who have served their time re-enter society. Her campaign has focused on better management of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased reforms to Omaha police, and more equitable and sustainable transportation options. She has also called for a greater focus on basic city services like street repairs, trash, and snow removal. Former mayoral candidate Dawaune Lamont Hayes, who failed to qualify for the ballot, has endorsed Harris. Learn more about her campaign at voteforjasmine.com.
Mark Gudgel is an English teacher at Omaha North High School. He has centered his campaign around reversing the brain drain in Omaha by guaranteeing every Omaha high school student up to $8000 in tuition for trade schools and college. Gudgel has also said the city needs to do more to address climate change and has said his administration would guarantee carbon neutrality by 2045. His campaign has come under fire for controversial links to a Twitch streamer who called for armed militias to crack down on Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this summer. Learn more about his campaign at gudgelformayor.com.
All five candidates will be on the same ballot, and the top two candidates will compete in a general election on May 11.
(Photos courtesy WOWT-TV 6 News.)