Weeknight with Bernie

Omaha, NE—The countdown is underway: Former Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is in Omaha tonight.

When Sanders campaigns for Mayoral hopeful Democrat Heath Mello the cheers inside Baxter Arena will be unmistakable. It’s that sound of silence elsewhere in town that shouldn’t be ignored.

Sanders appearance—all part of a select Red State rally-the-grass-roots effort—finds Mello ready to take the stage at Baxter Arena, and let the votes fall where they may.

“Working class families in our city are looking for a new leadership, and that’s why I’m so excited to speak about my vision for Omaha alongside Senator Sanders,” says Mello.

Fresh off his closer-than-most-expected 44-41 primary loss to incumbent Republican Jean Stothert, Mello has talked loud and clear about a first place finish May 9, pushed over the top by the large numbers of voters who did not vote on April 4. Estimates range from 20,000-30,000 more votes for the general election.

Votes Team Stothert is also counting, as they push a Bernie boomerang.

“Bernie Sanders is a self-avowed socialist and Mello’s embracing him will push every conservative voter to Mayor Stothert,” a Stothert spokesman tells News Channel Nebraska.

In the end Sander’s stop cuts one of several ways:

  • The upside for Mello: Sanders energizes younger voters— who normally  tend to walk away from city elections in droves. The downside for Mello: Sanders turns off moderate Democrats.
  • The upside for Stothert: Sanders brings out Republicans who want nothing to do with anyone who shadows Sanders.  The downside for Stothert: Most of those Republicans are already going to vote for Stothert.

Of course there’s a third option: Both sides gain votes they didn’t have, leaving May 9 still too close to call.

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