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Varner Hall

Varner Hall in Lincoln houses the University of Nebraska central administration offices and is the usual meeting site for the Board of Regents. 

A pair of women edged closer to breaking up the all-male University of Nebraska Board of Regents in Tuesday's primary election.

Barbara Weitz, a former instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who is new to politics, gathered 43.3 percent of the District 8 vote, ahead of incumbent Hal Daub's 42.1 percent.

Fewer than 400 votes separated Weitz and Daub, who both will advance to the November general election in bidding to represent most of Douglas County. In third place was Ryan Wilkins, a former student regent from UNL and an Omaha attorney, who received 14.6 percent of the primary vote.

Elsewhere in the Omaha area, newcomer Elizabeth O'Connor, who was also a former student regent, cruised to an easy District 4 primary victory over Larry Bradley, an adjunct professor at UNO who has run for the board several times.

O'Connor garnered 72 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election and will face off against Bradley once more in November for the seat to be vacated by Regent Bob Whitehouse at the end of the year.

District 4 includes areas of eastern Douglas and Sarpy counties.

Regent Rob Schafer edged toward re-election in District 5, which includes 16 counties in Southeast Nebraska, including northwest Lancaster County.

Schafer, a Beatrice attorney who serves as chairman of the Board of Regents this year, edged above 50 percent in the primary, easily outdistancing Robert Prokop, a former regent, who received 28 percent of the vote.

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The two will move onto the general election ballot, while Joshua Redwine, a Lincoln photographer new to politics, was eliminated after receiving 21.5 percent of the vote.

Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus ran unopposed in his re-election bid to the eight-member board representing District 3 in northeast Nebraska.

In the election for seats on the Southeast Community College Board of Governors, two candidates advanced in the lone contested primary race.

Ellen Weissinger, a retired UNL administrator, took 52 percent of Tuesday's District 5 primary vote. The second-place finisher, retired Lincoln Public Schools educator Arlyn Uhrmacher, received 30 percent of the vote to advance to the general election.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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