Community Leaders, Elected Officials Say Republican Petition to Keep Mayor Beutler Off the Ballot is Rigging the Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             

For More Information: Brandon Bayer at 402-380-2930

25 community leaders and elected officials gathered Sunday afternoon to protest the Republican Party’s attempt to deny citizens the right to vote for the candidate of their choice in the Lincoln Mayor’s election.

An initiative petition filed in the City Clerk’s Office late Friday afternoon seeks to impose a three term limit on the Lincoln Mayor. The petition would place the issue before voters during the November 2018 election, only months before the Mayoral primary election in April, 2019.

Republican National Committeeman J.L. Spray, former Republican Party Executive Director Robert Synhorst, and Faith White, the Lancaster County Republican Party Secretary are listed on the petition.

“This is an attempt to rig the election by keeping Mayor Beutler off of the ballot,” said local attorney Kathleen Neary. “It also limits another candidate’s ability to enter the race in a timely fashion, ensuring that the Republican Party candidate, Cyndi Lamm, has little competition and an unfair advantage.”

Lincoln Attorney Earl Scudder pointed to language in the State Constitution regarding initiative petitions, “All propositions submitted in pursuance hereof shall be submitted in a non-partisan manner and without any indication or suggestion on the ballot that they have been approved or endorsed by any political party or organization.”

“The petition to term limit the Lincoln Mayor is supported by Republican Party representatives and spokespersons. They are undermining the non-partisan intent of the petition process for their own ends,” Scudder said. “This petition is illegally partisan and unconstitutional, and unethically restricts voters’ rights to choose a Mayor. It seeks to prevent voters from choosing to vote for Mayor Chris Beutler.”

“Lincoln is a strong community with a thriving economy, low unemployment, and great neighborhoods,” Neary said. “Chris Beutler has been a strong leader and the other side knows they can’t beat him on his record. That’s why they are trying this political stunt.”

“Why the rush to get this on the ballot for a November vote?” former City Council member Doug Emery asked. “This should not be a rush job that appears to be a last minute end run around an incumbent Mayor.”

“It is bad enough that the Republican Party is misusing the initiative process to target one individual, squelching the will of the voters,” said Neary. “But what is even more disturbing is the timing. If people want to vote on term-limits, we welcome that debate. Launching term limits now is designed to ensure the Republican candidate for Mayor, Cyndi Lamm, does not have meaningful opposition.”

“When State term limits were adopted, past service by the state senators were excluded, precisely to prevent what Republican Party operatives are doing right now in the Mayor’s race,” Scudder said.

“As voters, we have put our trust in Mayor Beutler, and now a few political elitists want to prevent us from voting for him again. The Republican Candidate for Mayor, Cyndi Lamm, should denounce this plan and ask them to refile this after the election takes place in the name of fair elections that we voters deserve,” Neary concluded.

Press Conference Attendees:

Bill Avery, County Commissioner

Tim Becker, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Ben Nelson

Wayne Boles

Kate Bolz, State Senator

Chris Callihan, President, IBEW #265

Rod Confer, former City Attorney

Nick Cusick

Curt Donaldson, former City Council

Connie Duncan, School Board

Doug Emery, former City Council

Carl Eskridge, City Council

Ken Haar, former State Senator, former City Council

Dan Marvin, former City Council

Kathleen Neary

DiAnna Schimek, former State Senator

Earl Scudder

Kent Seacrest

Coleen Seng, former Mayor

Bennie Shobe, City Council

Don Wesely, former Mayor, former State Senator

Ken Winston, former School Board

Other supporters who could not attend, include:

Jennifer Brinkman, County Commissioner

Kathy Danek, School Board

Matt Hansen, State Senator

Adam Morfeld, State Senator

Joe Nigro, Public Defender

Patty Pansing Brooks, State Senator

Kim Robak, former Lieutenant Governor

Linda Wilson, former City Council

Anna Wishart, State Senator 

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Paid for by Citizens for Beutler, 7021 Fernhill Place, Lincoln NE, 68516

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