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Camp holds onto seat as Republicans grab council majority

Camp holds onto seat as Republicans grab council majority

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Two Republican candidates claimed narrow victories Tuesday night, giving the GOP a majority on the Lincoln City Council for the first time in six years.

Cyndi Lamm won a District 1 race decided by 202 votes, while four-term incumbent Jon Camp survived a tough challenge in District 2.

“I have to thank the citizens of Lincoln,” Camp said. “I have the privilege of getting to serve another four years. I’m excited.”

Incumbent Carl Eskridge and Jane Raybould, both Democrats, won easily in Tuesday's city general election.

Mayor Chris Beutler, who won his third term Tuesday, will have to work with a 4-3 Republican majority on the council.

In District 1, Lamm, a middle-aged Republican attorney, beat Meg Mikolajczyk, a young Democratic attorney, by less than 2 percentage points.

Doug Emery, a Democrat who represented the northeast district for eight years, decided not to seek re-election.

In southeast Lincoln, Camp, a businessman seeking his fifth term as the District 2 representative, beat challenger Patte Newman by about 3 percent.

Camp and Newman waged a contentious race, with Democratic Party officials criticizing Camp for his public and private work.

Democrats charged Camp with hypocrisy for voting to increase water rates while negotiating a $30,000 discount on his own water bill. They also criticized his involvement in a project that initially sought tax increment financing.

Newman, who manages her family’s farms, spent four years on the City Council in the early 2000s and ran unsuccessfully for the Lancaster County Board last year.

Camp said he planned to focus on ensuring a recent sales tax hike is spent well and funding is set aside for the long-anticipated south beltway. He said he also wants to continue improving living conditions for young people.

"I’m just excited to be part of the leadership so we can facilitate that," he said.

Raybould, a former county commissioner, ran unopposed for the southwest Lincoln District 3 seat, where 16-year councilman Jonathan Cook decided not to seek re-election.

Incumbent Eskridge, an ombudsman for the state, won 59 percent of the vote in the northwest Lincoln District 4 race against Mairead Safranek, a recent college graduate and Republican.

He said he plans to focus on improving conditions for businesses, increasing affordable housing, improving streets and reducing crime.

“It’s really important that the core part of our city is a healthy and strong place where people want to live,” he said.

He said he spent Tuesday like most others, attending a YMCA class, having breakfast with his wife and then working, comfortable that he had done what he could to reach voters.

“I had really felt good about the way we had gone about connecting with voters in the district,” he said. “I really look forward to these next four years.”

Reach Kevin Abourezk at 402-473-7225 or kabourezk@journalstar.com.

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