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Southeast Lincoln's District 29 will send Kate Bolz and Larry Zimmerman -- two candidates with clear-cut differences -- to vie for a legislative seat in November.

Bolz, a 33-year-old policy analyst with Nebraska Appleseed, led the race throughout the night Tuesday and attributed her primary victory to the hard work she did to connect with people in the district.

"People are feeling a little disconnected from government now, and they're really responding to someone who's willing to connect with them personally and listen to what's really on their mind," she said.

Zimmerman, 66, a former teacher and retired Farm Bureau administrator, said he met a lot of people, shook a lot of hands and had some good conversations with voters. He attributed his second-place finish to his volunteers.

Zimmerman describes himself as a conservative Republican in the nonpartisan race. Bolz is a Democrat.

Campaigning in the district had turned negative in the district in the past couple of weeks of the primary campaign with mailers, robocalls and news releases. Zimmerman said Omahan Pete Ricketts did some campaigning on his behalf, and while he had not asked for it, he appreciated it.

Bolz sent out a mailer over the weekend criticizing the mud-slinging going on against her campaign. She said she did it to let voters know she had integrity and to get the facts out.

Bolz was the leading fundraiser, collecting and spending about $40,000 for the primary. Zimmerman said he spent about $19,000.

She is looking forward to the general election campaign, Bolz said, and will continue with her strategy to tell voters who she is and what she believes.

"(Bolz is) going to be a very tough opponent, and I'm just looking forward to the next leg," Zimmerman said.

The winner will replace Sen. Tony Fulton, who could not run again because of term limits. 

Sen. Ken Haar and challenger Mike Hilgers will advance to the general election in District 21, in northwest Lincoln and Lancaster County. Tuesday night results showed a close finish for the two.

Haar, the top vote-getter, also was the top fundraiser, with $56,500 through April. At that time, he had spent $17,200 on the primary race. Hilgers raised about $51,300 during the reporting period and had spent about $38,000 during that time.

Haar, 69, of Malcolm is a retired computer programmer/analyst and former science and math teacher who was a Lincoln city councilman for eight years. He is a Democrat.

A member of the Legislature's Education and Natural Resources committees, he said the state's top priorities should include restoring funding to K-12 education to improve education and take pressure off local property taxes, working on developing Nebraska's renewable energy and restoring funding to human services programs.

Hilgers, a 33-year-old lawyer in Lincoln and a Republican, said he has two goals if elected: reduce burdens on families and businesses and ensure governmental structure and the state's infrastructure are on sound footing for decades to come.

Sen. Colby Coash and Kyle Michaelis will advance in southwest Lincoln's District 27. Coash was the top vote-getter in that race, collecting more than twice as many votes as Michaelis.

In District 25 in southeast Lincoln and northeast Lancaster County, incumbent Kathy Campbell ran unopposed.

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Reach JoAnne Young at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com -- You can follow JoAnne's tweets at twitter.com/ljslegislature.


State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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