D’s outnumber R’s in applications for Palermo seat
Of the dozen folks looking to replace Democrat Vinny Palermo on the Omaha City Council there are twice as many Democrats as Republicans.
According to state records examined by News Channel Nebraska, seven Democrats, three Republicans and two independents have applied for the seat.
Palermo, who has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud, was voted off the council earlier this month.
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As we’ve reported, District 4 of the Omaha City Council, AKA South Omaha, is 53 percent Hispanic and there are plenty who believe former Councilman Vinny Palermo’s now empty seat should be filled by an Hispanic.
But there’s another factor as well.
Ben Salazar, City Council candidate (South Omaha activist): “Each party is already positioning themselves to find either a Republican or a Democrat.”
South Omaha activist Ben Salazar made that comment before he was a candidate, but that doesn’t change the likelihood that a politically split council, three Democrats and three Republicans, will have to find a fourth vote, from the ‘other side.’
This in a district where 46 percent of the voters are Democrats, 25 percent Republican, and 26 percent Independent.
Pretty much in line with state voter records that find seven of the applicants registered Democrats: Andrew Adams, Garry Gernandt, Ron Hug, Mark Martinez, Anita Rojas, and Erik Servellon.
There are three Republicans: Rebecca Barrientos-Patlan, Terri Blackburn, and Samuel Canova, along with two independents Omaha School Board member Margo Juarez and Salazar.
Former 4-term Councilman Garry Gernandt is one of the best-known Democrats along with former US Marshall Mark Martinez and Ron Hug, the former 8-year Chair of the Douglas County Democratic Party (1996-2004).
Joseph Velasquez, who ran for the South Omaha seat several times (2001,2205 and 2009) and lost, tells NCN he’s a Democrat, but “is not happy the way, direction, the Democratic Party is going.”
Barrientos-Patlan has run for the South Omaha seat before and lost, Blackburn spent five years working for Republican Mayor Jean Stothert.
The council will be holding public interviews with some, possibly all, the hopefuls September 9.