Omaha, NE.—It’s the political version of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and the target is Omaha City Hall, specifically the third floor office of Mayor Jean Stothert.
News Channel Nebraska has learned that the Nebraska Democratic Party is ready to push for term limits keeping Stothert, a Republican, from running for a 3rd term in 2021.
“We can have it on the ballot in 2020,” says NDP chair Jane Kleeb.
But Stothert tells News Channel Nebraska, “Any limit of terms should allow for an intervening election to take place. That way, the petition is not directed toward a specific officeholder but at the office generally…Citizens can always term limit someone at the ballot box each election.”
The Democrat’s stop-Stothert move is the fall-out from a petition drive attempting to term limit Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler—a Democrat— and send him packing next spring after 12 years in office.
“If they (term limit Beutler) we will apply the same citizen led effort in Omaha…Democrats believe in fairness,” says Kleeb.
A spokesman for the Nebraska Republican Party tells News Channel Nebraska that while the GOP is not behind the Lincoln petition drive, “The Nebraska Republican Party believes in term limiting our elected officials.” GOP Executive Director, Kenny Zoeller, adds “This is a bipartisan issue, as more Democrats (1,693) than Republicans (1,552) signed onto the petition in Lincoln.”
So far Stothert hasn’t said she is running but hasn’t said she isn’t.
Shortly after she was re-elected in 2017, in comments to News Channel Nebraska, she left open the possibility that she could seek a third term in 2021. A recent fundraiser has only added fuel to that 3rd-term speculation.
“I like being mayor,” Stothert told NCN last year as she also noted that the city’s top executive office is not subject to term limits.
According to Kleeb, any term limit effort in Omaha would only target the mayor not the city council (the same strategy as Lincoln). Kleeb adds, “We have races to win in 2018 and we will focus on this after the election cycle.”
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