I’m still boggled by Tuesday night’s special election in Kansas. Democrat James Thompson may not have won, but he held Republican Ron Estes—who was twice elected statewide as treasurer—to a measly 7-point victory in a dark-red district that Donald Trump carried by 27 percent in November! That 20-point swing is just gigantic, but if we can move the vote even half us much elsewhere, a whole lot of other Republicans are going to be in major trouble.
And one of them is right across the state line: Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, who faces an exceptionally stiff challenge from Democrat Heath Mello, a former state senator, in next month’s general election. Last week, in the mayoral primary, Stothert took just 43.7 percent to Mello’s 41.4, a mere 2.3 percent margin. For an incumbent seeking re-election, those are worrying numbers.
Even more worrying for Stothert, the city of Omaha voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 51-43 spread last year. Naturally there are all sorts of local issues at play in a race like this, but given the national mood, no Republican is safe from Trump—and Mello has been putting the screws to Stothert, demanding she clarify where she stands on Trump's travel ban, his refusal to acknowledge climate change, and his efforts to repeal Obamacare.
Stothert, of course, has refused to answer these questions, presumably hoping to just run out the clock before Mello can inflict more damage. We can’t let her get away with that, which is why Daily Kos is endorsing Mello so that he can crank up the heat on Stothert and unseat her on May 9.
There’s another factor at play here as well. Omaha makes up almost three quarters of the population in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, a swingy seat that Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford lost by just 1 point to Republican Don Bacon last year. It’s a district that will be high on our target lists next year, and a good showing next month will energize progressives and encourage strong candidates to run against Bacon.
So consider this a two-for-one: You can help unseat a Republican now, and help unseat one next year, too.
Please give $3 to Heath Mello ASAP so that he can turn Omaha blue on May 9.