Candidates make final push

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May 15th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Candidates on both the Republican and Democratic ballots are making their final appearances in anticipation of today’s statewide primary election.

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On a hot afternoon Monday, Gwen Howard stood waving to oncoming traffic at the University of Nebraska Omaha overpass. The 2nd Congressional District Democratic candidate is in the last throes of a final push.

“We’re out here every morning at 7 in the morning until about 9 o’clock waving at the cars as they come out of District 9, and as they come in from West Omaha,” she said. Howard has been campaigning with her daughter, Sara Howard, who is running for a seat in the Nebraska Legislature.

Gwen Howard, a state senator and social worker, will be squaring off against Douglas County Treasurer and former Omaha Police Chief John Ewing for the Democratic nomination. Both candidates have made a last ditch effort for votes before today’s primary, with Ewing making several appearances at rallies and restaurants around town.

“This one’s still pretty much up for grabs,” said Dr. Randall Adkins, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Adkins said despite Ewing being the clear frontrunner in campaign financing, it’s still anyone’s game.

“That’s actually pretty common in primaries and Congressional primaries around the country,” Adkins said. “Honestly, we don’t have much of a sense of exactly how close this is.”

Adkins said not much independent polling has been conducted, a common factor in Congressional races. “If there is polling that’s done, it’s released by the campaigns and usually only to show that their candidate has an advantage over the other candidate,” he said.

On the Republican side, the 2nd Congressional District race is littered with potential nominees, although 13-year incumbent Lee Terry has a clear advantage.

Terry is challenged by University of Nebraska Omaha math professor Jack Heidel, local financial advisor and former Nebraska football player Brett Lindstrom, former Douglas County GOP Chairman Glenn Freeman, and railroad mechanic Paul Anderson.

The 2nd Congressional District primaries are equally met in candidate volume by the Nebraska Senatorial primaries. On the Republican side, a three-way battle has emerged between Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, State Senator Deb Fischer, and State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Lesser known GOP candidates Pat Flynn, Sharyn Elander, and Spencer Zimmerman have also thrown their hats into the ring.

In what appears to be a less contested race, former U.S. Senator and Nebraska Governor Bob Kerrey faces little opposition in Omaha attorney Steve Lustgarten. Kerrey is already making post-primary plans, and has scheduled a number of appearances throughout the day Wednesday.

Polls are open until 8pm tonight. To find your polling place, click here.

Check back with KVNONEWS.COM as election results come in tonight.

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