Republican Matt Schulte, a Lincoln school board member, and Democrat Rachel Garver, a political novice with experience in managing a financial office, will face off for the Lancaster County treasurer’s job in the November general election.
Incumbent county treasurer Andy Stebbing, who is facing five felony charges related to selling used vehicles, lost his bid for the Republican nomination to a third term.
Both nominees touted their work history during the campaign, but the underlying theme across the board was trust. The challengers in both parties pointed to their own reputations for integrity and honesty, with Stebbing’s criminal charges as a quiet backdrop.
Stebbing, who ran third in the field of three candidates, has good name recognition after holding office for seven years and running in three previous elections. But he had little support from the Republican establishment, was not even listed as a candidate on the county Republican website and raised very little money this year, less than $4,000.
Schulte, executive director of Campus Life, beat both Stebbing and political newcomer Allen Simpson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Nebraska Air National Guard, for the Republican nomination.
Schulte, 38, said he was honored by the nomination and enjoyed getting out and knocking on doors and meeting a lot of people.
"I have been encouraged by the amount of support I’ve had across the county. People clearly were looking for a change in leadership because of the question of character," he said.
Garver, a financial manager in the Office of Student Accounts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, beat Andrew Stock, who teaches political science at Central Community College, for the Democratic nomination.
Garver, who was celebrating with other Democrats in downtown Lincoln on Tuesday evening, said campaigning was great.
"I worked hard. My team worked hard. I had a lot of great volunteers," Garver, 59, said about her first election bid.
Garver said she hadn't really thought about what she might say if she won. "I didn't want to get too excited. I wasn't really wanting to count my chickens before they are hatched."
Garver ran on her 24 years of experience, pointing out that she is responsible for more than $400 million in billing and collections annually.
She also provides programming and technological advancement for the UNL student accounts office and is responsible for professional staff supervision.
Schulte is the most experienced campaigner of the challengers, both Republican and Democrat, and he raised the most money ($28,000) ahead of the primary.
Schulte pointed to his experience as Campus Life director and as a small-business owner. During the campaign, he said he would explore creating a kiosk system in rural communities where people could pay for vehicle registration and property taxes and promised to look into additional treasurer office locations in Lincoln.
Stebbing will serve as treasurer until the new treasurer, elected in the fall, takes office in January.