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ELECTION 2021: Mayor Stothert’s solid primary victory not a guaranteed win in May, experts say

RJ Neary likely facing incumbent mayor in next month’s general election as the primary count continues
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Tuesday was a record primary election with more than 10,000 votes still to be counted. Those votes could impact a couple of the races, but experts say those outstanding votes are unlikely to change who finished second to Jean Stothert in the race for mayor.

The two-term incumbent dominated the primary. Real estate broker RJ Neary leads Jasmin Harris by 1,700 votes in the race for second. Only the top two vote-getters advance to the general election next month.

The election is nonpartisan, but Stothert was the only Republican in the race. And if you total up all the votes between the four Democrats, that’s around 30,000 votes — Stothert received nearly 13,000 more than that.

6 News asked an expert at UNO whether any of that was an indicator for the general election.

“She did win pretty handily yesterday, but it’s important to remember: Sometimes that primary constituency is going to look different than the general election constituency,” said UNO Political Science professor Randy Adkins. “That’s the first thing. And the second: There will be a lot of campaigns in the next few weeks, and that campaign will involve a lot of door-to-door visits, a lot of TV advertising — same for social media. Now, when you have two candidates going head-to-head, I think it will give the public the opportunity to really contrast the candidates.”

Stothert, who is looking for an unprecedented third term, describes the next five weeks before the next election as a sprint, calling the primary results a “strong vote of confidence.”

Political newcomer Neary called his growth in name recognition in the last four months a dramatic change he’s proud of. He’s also planning to reach out to his fellow candidates and ask for their support.

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