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Election: Beutler sails to re-election
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Election: Beutler sails to re-election

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Riding a wave of new energy and development in the city, Mayor Chris Beutler swept to re-election Tuesday night.

With the support of a wide swath of both business and labor interests, Beutler ran against a national tide of anti-incumbency sentiment and easily claimed a second four-year term.

The mayor defeated underfunded political novice Tammy Buffington in a race that appeared settled once the first election returns from early voters were released shortly after the polls closed.

Beutler took 65 percent of the vote to Buffington's 35, according to final unofficial results.

"Building cranes are again on Lincoln's horizon as the West Haymarket arena, the Innovation Campus and business expansions across the city rise from the ground," Beutler said in a victory speech at his election party at the Embassy Suites.

"We are moving ahead dramatically."

Beutler said he is pleased by "the community consensus forged (by) including everyone at the decision-making table."

But, he said, "what I am most proud of in my time as mayor is the confidence we have gained as a community."

No longer does Lincoln look at a challenge with pessimism and ask why, Beutler said. Now, he said, the city "seizes our challenges with the optimism that we can turn them into opportunities."

Beutler, 66, was elected mayor in 2007 after a long career in the Legislature, where he served two decades as a state senator.

His mayorship has been marked by budget restraint and a dramatic change in the business climate.

The signature project is the $344 million arena and associated development in the Haymarket approved by voters a year ago. Beutler led the effort to win voter approval and helped build a wide consensus of community support that tipped the tide after early forecasts of voter defeat in the midst of an economic recession.

In a telephone interview, Beutler said he looks ahead to "getting done right those things we have begun" while turning to new challenges, including roads and infrastructure.

Buffington, 49, owner of A+Brokerage, an insurance brokerage, ran as a more conservative Republican alternative to Beutler, who is a Democrat. 

Her experience as a business owner would be an asset as mayor, she argued.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at dwalton@journalstar.com.

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