More attention than usual for a mid-term vote

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

For a mid-term election, today's vote is drawing more than the usual amount of attention.

Legislative District 44 voters are choosing between two candidates from the upper stretches of the Republican River basin and Natural Resources District, after McCook Mayor Dennis Berry was defeated in the primary. That left Middle Republican NRD voters short of a choice they think might offer our irrigators better representation in Lincoln.

Opponents of Steve Stroup have worked hard to make an issue of back property taxes, since paid, and a last-minute lawsuit over business dealings, but Stroup's campaign spun the taxes as an inheritance issue and said he hoped to settle the lawsuit amicably.

Stroup or opponent Dan Hughes will join a freshman class that amounts to a third of the officially nonpartisan Legislature, replacing experienced lawmakers thrown out of office by term limits.

Republicans are unlikely to lose any congressional seats, but Democrats hope the minimum wage ballot measure will bring their voters to the poll.

Initiative 425 has strong support from Omaha unions, which may cost eight-term U.S. Rep. Lee Terry his job in a race against State Sen. Brad Ashford if the heavily Democratic union membership turns out to vote.

Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked when voters are asked which party they would like to control Congress.

An NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll found 46 percent of likely voters preferred a Republican-controlled Congress, and 45 percent want Democrats in control.

The 1 percent margin holds in competitive Senate races like neighboring Kansas, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

If polls in Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana hold true, the GOP can achieve a Senate majority next year.

Local voters are probably more engaged, and rightfully so, over school board, city council and Natural Resources District elections, candidates they are more likely to know on a first-name bases and who do more to affect their daily lives.

Let's hope the winners of today's election have the wisdom they need to make decisions that will have the best results for their fellow citizens, regardless of whether or not they received their votes.

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