Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Vokal makes it three

Jim Vokal's campaign for Mayor is now, officially, in full swing.

It has been getting there for some time now, with Sunday's "town hall" call pushing it to the brink. Vokal robo-called 70,000 registered voters in Omaha, and then allowed them to take part in the follow up live call. A reported 5,000 stuck around to hear Vokal's live voice and vision for City Hall.

An interesting tactic by Vokal and campaign manager Jordan McGrain (who blogged the GOP convention in St. Paul for Leavenworth Street -- though he has no other connection to us). The robo -call town hall has been used by Members of Congress for a while, and certainly allows a personable touch for those interested.

It's a step above a basic news conference, and bettter than just getting your supporters to show up. We give camp Vokal kudos for doing something different, and potentially effective.

(Read a USA Today article about the history and technology behind the town-hall robo-call format, here.)

There's no doubt that Vokal will need an oomph in what will be a tough campaign. Suttle will likely have some support of Dems who still have the political itch from the past Prez campaign. Daub has solid GOP support and knows how to run a campaign that goes for the jugular.

Vokal will, in theory, need to garner his own GOP base, and leach off the Dems from his own District who have elected him in the past -- and get some of their friends. Though Vokal also has the benefit of being the younger dude next to a couple of old guys.

But, if his announcement speech is any indication, Vokal isn't going to knock anyone dead with his speaking style. And he'll need to keep the gaffes at bay.

In his speech, Jim said that he will continue to talk about his vision of Omaha...
"From Elkhorn to Millard; to Keystone to Bellevue..."
Uh, well maybe not for Bellevue (unless he has an Elkhorn type plan that we don't know about).

(And then in the KPTM story, on the one hand the reporter says there was "an independent campaign to convince him to run with billboards and a website". But then the reporter also says that Vokal told him he made his decision to run "about eight weeks ago, and it's a relief to get it underway". Then again, he told the OWH that he's been eying the job for the past eight years, so he didn't really need the instigation of the billboards, huh?)

The announcement speech madlibs also seem to require one slam at Hal Daub. Today Vokal's line was,
"Look, I understand that the whole world is going “green” right now, but I don’t think that means we have to recycle our mayoral candidates."
Last week, Suttle's line was,
"We cannot return to those troubled waters, and troubling times of eight years ago."
Then again, in his announcement Daub was also pushing the kinder, gentler Hal Daub, so who knows what's going on.


So, assuming it is just the three major candidates in the running, who do you suppose each would like to face in the general election run-off?

Here's what we think:

Daub: would rather face Vokal.
Daub wouldn't have to make it a Republican vs Democrat race, like it could well become if he faces Suttle. Many Dems just out and out hate Hal Daub. They are more than happy to make it personal, and we have seen that Dems like nothing better than to get all lathered up about a Republican they don't like. Suttle's no Obama, but Daub may be close enough to George W. Bush for them.

And Daub could then try to smother Vokal with the "experience" factor, or some such. But could Vokal then bring in both Republicans and Democrats against Daub? There's something to be said for that...

Suttle: would rather face Daub
Suttle could then give it a pure R's vs D's match up. Figuring there are plenty of GOPers and Independents who don't like Daub and that he would keep a solid Dem base.

A battle against Vokal could muddy the waters, since Vokal comes from a majority Dem district, isn't easily ID'd as a Republican, and could skew some of the younger vote.

Vokal: would rather face Suttle
Vokal and Suttle will both face name ID issues. If Vokal is up against Daub, that's one more battle he would have to face. He could also find himself in a battle to out-Republican Daub.

If he's facing Suttle , he can play up the GOP thing, but still try to make himself to be the middle-of-the-road candidate. -- a Republican in a Dem district. He could also possibly get the endorsement of Mayor Mike Fahey. That could be his road to victory.

He could do it against Daub as well, but the road could be rockier.

OK, what's your theory, politico?


Here's an odd one. On Jim Suttle's campaign website, he has a full page for his wife. OK, that's done sometimes. BUT, it has his wife's full resume on it!

All the stuff she did in the legislature. A bullet list of all the boards she's on, etc.

Uh, Suttle campaign, just who are you trying to elect there? Just curious.


On his website, Check With Chip, outgoing County Commissioner Chip Maxwell asks readers if he should run for Vokal's soon to be vacant Omaha City Council seat. Maxwell lost to former Omaha City Councilman Marc Kraft in the recent election.

He seems to be leaning toward a yes.

So would Chip still be warm from the past campaign, or would he simply be exhausted? And who else is interested in that central Omaha seat? One of the many City Council campaigns that could get funky.


Lots of bitching and moaning, especially from commenters here on Leavenworth Street from Nebraska Democrats and Republicans -- Achepohlians and Covalters -- Quandahlites and Fahlesonians.

Well here's the deal: After an election, it's usually time for the old(er) guard to move on. It's a rough, thankless job usually. New blood is almost always a better tact.

The exiting folks get their lives back. The new ones get to review what happened, figure out what worked, and from a new standpoint, fix what didn't.

It makes sense. Onward and upward, party hacks.

Live with it.

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OmaSteak said...

Vokal's main "why vote for me" answer after his underwhelming announcement speech was "young professionals don't want guys in their 60s". If that's the best he has to offer, Jim has third place in the primary firmly in his grasp.

Anonymous said...

Is his health good? Looks like he's lost weight.

Anonymous said...

Brian Buescher, Douglas County Republican Party Chairman, is apparently considering running for Vokal's seat? Former President of a prominent neighborhood association should be a strong candidate.

Anonymous said...

This is the vote third party, trans-fat kills, Ron Paul, Give cops a raise sign guy.
Since Omaha chose not to try and make a presidential election wide-open by voting Ron Paul May 13 for the Republican primary, maybe Omaha doesn't believe in personal freedoms?? ....Guess it is time for someone to run for mayor that wants to tax trans fat and make cigs illegal inside the city limits. Just imagine the millions of dollars in tourist dollars that would flow to Omaha after we make cigs illegal! We will be able to put Omaha on the worldwide map! Let's do it people! Will someone please run for mayor that wants to take cigarettes away from smokers so we don't have to have our nose rights violated when we go to the store? Ever notice how smokers don't care if they smoke against the wind? Ever notice smokers never change their smoke reeking clothes before they go out in public? Will someone please run for mayor so I don't have to.

badgolfer said...

Jimmy, loved your coming out announcement last night. I am confussed by a couple of statements you made in your prepared comments as well as your "one on ones" with various media.

First, you really think being a council member for 8 years trumps Hal's 6.5 years as Mayor (a chief executive position)? (Let's also not forget Hal's eight years in Congress.)

Next, if you "know" how to fix the pension issue tell me what you have been doing about it for eight years. If you really know the solution you should have proposed it before and fought for the plan's implementation. Maybe then I could see the result in order to consider voting for you.

Third, I see you'll be the first mayor to effectivly fight crime. I think Hal's forward thinking crimefighting, in part, brought helicopters to our city. The current mayor also has agreed that those have been an effective tool in fighting crime.

Fourth, you claim you'll be the first mayor to support the use of "early intervation" programs. Mmmm, what about all the work the current mayor has done with Building Bright Futures and cooperative agreements with OPS.

The list goes on, but my fingers tire.

The only thing I didn't hear you promise was "a chicken in every pot." Maybe that's part of your next revelation.

macdaddy said...

In my outsider's opinion, I can't see how Vokal does anything other than split the GOP vote. If he's banking on younger voters, who trend blue, he's sunk. This bipartisan crap only works one way: to the Dem's advantage. Obama obviously pulled in a lot of first time voters whose first experience was to make history. They might like that feeling and want to vote again. We shall see. But I think Suttle's the front-runner (even though he looks like the addled Mr. Wilhelm from Seinfeld). Daub needs to force out Vokal and quickly.

Anonymous said...

Jim Vokal looks weird.

Anonymous said...

Jim Vokal = Skeletor

Anonymous said...

C'mon folks no making fun of Jean Luc Vokal.....Make it so Number 1!!! Warp Speed...lol

Anonymous said...

I think Daub is going to have a tougher race ahead of him than most think. With Vokal splitting the R's and Suttle already organizing a ground game that has proven successful last election it may not be as sown up as some think.

Politics as usual will not win this race.

Anonymous said...


Vokal may of had 5,000 people on the phone but I guarantee you 4,000 of those people hung up within 1 minute, and another 500 or so hung up after 2-3 minutes. So the actual number who participated for the entire call was probably more like 300 - 500.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Vokal decide to run four years ago? He announced right after he was elected to a second term on the city council that he was going to run for mayor.

Also, Vokal saying he has more city government experience than Suttle or Daub is laughable and a tough sell. Suttle was public works director for Omaha and Daub was mayor. Vokal has zero executive experience in city government (unless you count being president of the city council - which I wouldn't).

3rd floor watcher said...

If I remember Paul Koneck and Lormong Lo were presidents of the city council....we didn't make them mayor!!!!

Anonymous said...

I know some tough questions for Suttle regarding honesty, accountability, morality, and even legality of actions; that he is not going to want to answer publicly, however, as a public figure I guess that's part of the deal. Perhaps that will happen. I am sure the good tax payers of Omaha would appreciate knowing certain information that would make them think twice before voting for "Side-Deal Suttle".

It's interesting that he has his wife's resume posted. I wonder why he doesn't have anything about his kids? Generally speaking, if you want to know somebody, look at the children they have raised, although when parents are in a position to "fix things" you might have to look a little past facades. As they say, the apple doesnt fall too far from the tree.

Anonymous said...

I am now convinced the "Run, Jimmy, Run" ads were a carefully crafted hoax by the Jimster himself. This race is going to be a "vote for the lesser of three evils" or a "vote for the smartest of three stooges." You know there is always that line,_________, (write in candidate.) Ernie Chambers is smart, pragmatic and although maybe not municipally experienced, he is a quick study! Draft Ernie? What would Ernie do?

Thanks for the Memories said...

In response to the reference of the former Senator from District 10in Omaha - Mrs. Suttle, may I just say:


Taxpayers appreciate the fact that you know that it is not okay to raise taxes on them whether it is an election year or not.

Anonymous said...

Brian Beuscher IS in the race to fill Vokal's seat. He already has a campaign team in place and has been making the rounds for support.

Should be a VERY strong candidate.

Anonymous said...

Back to the original post re Vokal, Frank Brown of CTI Channel 22(a 501C3 non-profit) has been endorsing and talking up Vokal on his TV show. Seems he is set on delivering the North Omaha vote to Vokal for some reason. Guess the other shoe will fall. The last time I checked, 501C3 non-profits according to the IRS Code are "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office." If anyone is interested in filing a complaint against CTI, Community Telecast, Inc., you may download the form at www.irs.gov for Form 13909 or just search IRS Form 13909. You can check a box to remain anonymous if you are in fear of retaliation or retribution.