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It was quite the election

November 9, 2018

Conventional wisdom had it that the most exciting and intriguing part of the 2018 mid-term elections was going to be the battle for control of the U.S. House and Senate.

And although that certainly did provide suspense, there was no shortage of election-related drama on a local level, too.

How else can one describe the Norfolk city council race in which one vote stands between Ward 4 candidates Jarad Dahlkoetter and Fred Wiebelhaus?

Dahlkoetter emerged on top with 580 votes compared to Wiebelhaus’ 579 ­— a reveral of the outcome in the spring primary election when Wiebelhaus was the leading vote-getter.

Political science and government instructors in Norfolk and elsewhere will now be able to make use of this race to reinforce the lesson that every vote counts.

The closeness of the race dictates that results won’t be official until the canvassing board meets in a few days.

We congratulate both men on a race well run.

But that wasn’t the only close race in this corner of the state.

The District 40 legislative race was back and forth all night as votes were counted between Timothy Gragert of Creighton and Keith Kube of Crofton before Gragert pulled out a close victory.

In Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District races, two of the four contested races proved to fit the definition of nail-biters.

Joel Hansen of Wayne emerged as the winner in the race for the at-large board seat over Greg Owens of Wayne, while Dennis Schultz of Wisner topped Tom Feller, also of Wisner for the subdistrict 6 seat. In both races, the candidates each ended up with 50 percent of the vote.

The Lower Elkhorn board has been plagued by tension and a degree of dysfunctionality in recent months. One hopes that the election results will prove to help ease that situation. But it’s a situation that needs monitoring.

Statewide, many of the races weren’t all that close as Republican incumbents won re-election to a variety of positions, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer and U.S. Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith.

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon of Omaha also persevered and won re-election over his Democratic challenger, but his victory wasn’t enough to preclude the Democratic party from reclaiming a majority in that legislative body.

Another election now is the books, and given the close outcomes, it was one for the books.

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