The first votes for or against Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s recall are just a week away.
John Chatelain, the treasurer of the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee (MSRC), tells Nebraska Watchdog he expects radio ads backing the recall to hit the air this week. Asked if television ads are also likely Chatelain said he didn’t think so.
Forward Omaha, a group opposing the recall, is urging voters to get in this fight sooner than later. On its Website the pro-Suttle organization says people should request an early ballot.
In a recent interview with Nebraska Watchdog, Suttle said he would spend the time between now and Election Day telling voters what he’s accomplished during his 18 months in office. According to the Mayor that includes “stabilizing” the city’s finances, along with improvements in public safety and fixes to the city’s pension problems.
The Mayor would not say how much his campaign will cost, but both sides have already spent over $500,000.
During the petition drive the recallers shelled out over $300,000, while the anti-recallers spent nearly $280,000. Most of the anti-recall money, $170,000, came from the Mayor’s campaign account.
One of the recall’s main financial backers Barton Bonn, the owner of Ashley Lynn’s tanning and beauty salons, has issued his first public comments on the move to oust Suttle. Bonn’s comments follow Nebraska Watchdog’s exclusive report that Bonn, who had contributed $25,000 to the MSRC, also contributed $18,000 to Hal Daub when Daub ran and lost to Suttle in 2009. Nebraska Watchdog has tried to ask Bonn about his contributions to both Daub and the recall but he has not returned our calls. In a letter to the editor in the Omaha World-Herald’s Public Pulse, Bonn who says he has nothing to gain from the recall other than good government and stable taxes, also says his “businesses have been boycotted by city employees because I have spoken out for reform at public meetings.”
If the recall is successful at least one more election will be necessary. That election, to choose Suttle’s successor, would be held no sooner than late April. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election would also be held.
Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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