Trump, Clinton win primaries, some legislators trail challengers

Sign outside polling place. (Photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)
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May 10, 2016 - 11:40pm

Nebraskans went to the primary election polls Tuesday to vote on who should advance to the general election for president, congress, and other offices in November, when important ballot issues will also be decided.


Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton continued on their frontrunner’s paths to their parties’ nominations. Around 6 in 10 Republican primary voters voted for Trump over four other candidates – Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio – who’d already suspended their campaigns. Among those voters was Bill North of Lincoln.

“Trump – it’d be Trump, naturally,” North said. “I was kind of thinking about Cruz, really, originally, but now that Trump’s the main one left, why, yeah. I think he’s going to be a real tough negotiator in the world."

Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Bud Synhorst said he wasn’t surprised at Tuesday’s result, calling it a sign the party would come together.

“I think we’re going to unify. I mean, I’m looking forward to Saturday for our state convention to unify together and move forward to make sure that Hillary doesn’t become the next president,” Synhorst said.

On the Democratic side, results were similar, with Hillary Clinton picking up nearly 6 of every 10 votes. Among her supporters was Patricia Bartek, who said Clinton has the experience to do the job.

“I have nothing against Bernie Sanders. But Hillary, she’s smart,” Bartek said.

Tuesday’s results contrasted with what happened in March, when Bernie Sanders defeated Clinton in the party’s caucuses. Nebraska Democratic Chairman Vince Powers said that reflects the difference between caucuses, which he called party-building exercises, and the more familiar primaries.

Powers also predicted Trump’s nomination would guarantee Democrats an electoral vote from the Omaha-area congressional district, and even put the district which includes Lincoln and rural eastern Nebraska in play.

“It’s a foregone conclusion that a Democrat will win Nebraska CD2 – that’s really kind of a done deal. The question now is whether or not CD1 will gain an electoral vote,” Powers said.

Since Nebraska approved allocating some of its electoral votes by district in 1991, Democrats have won only once, when Barack Obama picked up the Omaha-area vote in 2008.

There were also some surprising outcomes in races for the Legislature, where incumbents were trailing challengers. That was the case in District 43, where Tom Brewer led Al Davis; District 33, where Steve Halloran led Les Seiler; District 45, where Michael Cook led Sue Crawford; District 31, where Ian Swanson led Rick Kolowski, and District 23, where Bruce Bostelman led Jerry Johnson. In all those races, however, both candidates will advance to the general election. In District 7, Tony Vargas led incumbent Nicole Fox, but with votes still to be counted, Fox was only 39 votes ahead of former Sen. John Synowiecki, with the third place finisher to be eliminated.

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