by Reece Ristau, Omaha World Herald
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert appears to have a commanding fundraising lead over her challengers in the mayoral race, reporting more than $660,000 in cash on hand as of Jan. 1 in a campaign finance report due Monday.
Stothert’s campaign and outside political observers say the Republican mayor’s finances are on solid ground as campaigning ramps up for Omaha’s spring election, when voters will choose a mayor and seven City Council members for the next four years.
The top two voter-getters in the officially nonpartisan April 6 primary advance to the May 11 general election.
One of Stothert’s main challengers, Democrat RJ Neary, apparently kept pace with Stothert in 2020. The mayor raised $295,725 last year, the filing shows, compared with more than $300,000 that Neary, chairman of Investors Realty, raised.
Neary raised $316,901 in 2020, a spokeswoman for Neary’s campaign said Sunday afternoon.
But Stothert has the fundraising edge, as she has continued to add to her war chest since she won reelection in 2017. She raised about $1.13 million in the reporting period after that election, summer 2017 through the end of 2019, the filing shows.
At least nine people are pursuing campaigns for mayor, and an early financial outlook of the race — including fundraising numbers and donor activity — should become clearer this week after the latest filing deadline. Campaigns that have raised, received or spent more than $5,000 in a calendar year are required to file.
Nonprofit executive Jasmine Harris, Omaha Public Schools teacher Mark Gudgel and OPS board member Kimara Snipes are among those mounting campaigns. Stothert, Harris, Neary and Snipes have filed the necessary paperwork to get on the ballot. The filing deadline for mayoral candidates is March 5.
But Stothert said she has the money to fund her campaign and get her message out in every neighborhood.
“We’re well positioned to win this race, but we never take anything for granted,” she said.