The weekend censure of a key Democrat by the Nebraska Democratic Party finds the 2025 Omaha mayor’s race front and center.

While the party slapped-down Nebraska State Senator Mike McDonnell for not being progressive enough, McDonnell tells News Channel Nebraska the censure will not affect his decision to run for Mayor.

In addition, while some wonder if McDonnell will turn Republican, the head of the state Democratic Party is not questioning McDonnell’s Democratic chops.

[View our full video report above]

State Sen. Mike McDonnell: “Thank you…”

It’s been a stormy few years for State Sen. Mike McDonnell, as the Omaha labor leader and former fire chief considers a run for Omaha Mayor in 2025.

State Sen. Joni Albrecht, (R) January 2023: “A heartbeat is a universal sign of life and abortions stop a beating heart.”

Last year McDonnell was the only Democrat backing a move to restrict abortions after six weeks. McDonnell defending his vote noting he’s “Pro-Life, a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church.”

He also backed bills targeting transgender youth, one prohibiting gender-changing surgeries, the other effectively banning boys from girls’ bathrooms and sports teams and vice versa.

Joe Jordan, News Channel Nebraska: “He’s thinking about running for Mayor in 2025, will the Democratic Party support him?

That was my question last year to Jane Kleeb the head of the Nebraska Democratic Party, after McDonnell’s abortion and transgender votes. Here was her answer.

Jane Kleeb, Nebraska Democratic Party; June 2023: “We are actively recruiting candidates for Mayor in 2025.”

Jordan: “Other than Mike McDonnell.”

Kleeb: “If Mike McDonnell wants to run, we think that’s great, but the party is actively talking with other Democrats who will also be throwing their hats in the ring.”

That same day I also spoke with Mike Marcheck, a leading Democrat in the LGBTQ wing of the Party, about McDonnell.

Joe Jordan, News Channel Nebraska: “Do you consider him a Democrat?”

Mike Marcheck, Stonewall Democrats: “I personally do not.”

Now this latest censure is likely to renew talk that McDonnell will turn Republican, talk Kleeb appears more than willing to stop.

According to Kleeb, “The difference between us and Republicans is that we can hold space for all Democrats, adding she will “not put into question Sen. McDonnell’s party affiliation as a Democrat.”

And McDonnell tells me the Democrat’s censure “does not affect my decision to run for mayor!”

By the way, amid all this talk about McDonnell’s less than Democratic chops there’s also this…

Gov. Jim Pillen, Nebraska (R), January 12, 2023: “Senate Designate Pete Ricketts...”

…reported exclusively by News Channel Nebraska.

When Gov. Pillen appointed former Gov. Pete Ricketts to the Senate last year, a couple dozen Republicans were on hand as was McDonnell, who was also the only Democrat in sight.

McDonnell is expected to decide if he’s running for Mayor in 2025 before summer.