Midterm elections are just a 11 days away. Here are races on the ballot for Nov. 6.

NOTE: Candidate statements for local races of contention can be found at the end of this story and are grouped by the office or post being sought.


U.S. Senate
Incumbent: Deb Fischer, Republican, elected in 2012.
Challengers: Jane Raybould, Democrat, grocer (family owns Super Saver and Russ’ markets).
Jim Schultz, Libertarian, information technology.

U.S. Congress
Incumbent: Jeff Fortenberry, Republican, elected in 2004.
Challenger: Jessica McClure, Democrat, chemist /government regula-tor/attorney.


Governor/Lt. Governor
Incumbent: Pete Ricketts and Mike Foley, Republicans, elected in 2014.
Challenger: Bob Krist and Lynne Walz, Democrats, state legislators.

Secretary of State
Incumbent: John Gale, who is not seeking re-election
Candidates: Bob Evnen, Republican, attorney.
Spencer Danner, Democrat, emergency response management consultant.

Incumbent: Don Stenberg, who is not seeking re-election.
Candidate: John Murante, Republican, Nebraska state senator.

Attorney General
Incumbent: Doug Peterson, Republican, elected 2014.

Auditor of Public Accounts
What the job is: The State Auditor provides an independent and objective assessment of the State of Nebraska's governmental operations.
 The Auditor of Public Account's (APA) officereviews budgets, audits county courts, state colleges and other agencies.
Incumbent: Charlie Janssen, Republican, elected in 2014.
Challenger: Jane Skinner, Democrat, librarian.

Public Service Commissioner
What the job is: The Nebraska Public Service Commission is an elected state executive position in the Nebraska state government. The chairman serves as head of the five-member commission.

The commission regulates railroads, household goods and passenger carriers, telephone companies, grain warehouses and construction of manufactured homes.
Incumbent: Frank E. Landis Jr., who is not seeking re-election.
Challengers: Dan Watermeier, Republican, Nebraska state senator.
Christa Yoakum, Democrat, program coordinator at Nebraska Appleseed.


County Assessor
Incumbent: Christi Smallfoot, Republican, appointed in 2017.

County Attorney
Incumbent: David J. Partsch, Republican, appointed in 2007.

County Clerk
Incumbent: Janene Bennett, who is not seeking re-elections.
Candidate: Jennifer K. Bassinger.

Clerk of the District Court
Incumbent: Janis A. Riege, Republican.

County Treasurer
Incumbent: Nicki Kreifels Baker, Democrat.

Register of Deeds
Incumbent: Janet Reed, who is not seeking re-election.
Candidate: Ruth Ann Waddle, Republican, deputy register of deeds.

County Sheriff
Incumbent: James Gress, who is not seeking re-election.
Challengers: Jeffrey Lant, Republican, Nebraska City Police Department Sergeant.
Colin Caudill, Democrat, Otoe County Sheriff’s Deputy.

County Surveyor
Incumbent: David L. Schmitz, Democrat, elected in 1994.

County Public Defender
Incumbent: Michael Ziskey, Democrat.

County Commissioner District 1
Incumbent: Ron Hauptmann, who is not seeking re-election.
Challengers: James A. Thurman, Republican, business owner.
Robert Earll, Democrat, paramedic.

County Commissioner District 2
Incumbent: Rick Freshman, Republican, appointed in 2009.

County Commissioner District 3
Incumbent: Jerad Sornson, Democrat, elected in 2014.

Nebraska Legislature, District 2
Incumbent: Robert Clements, Republican, appointed in 2017.
Challenger: Susan D. Lorenee, Democrat, lead process analyst, telecommunications industry

State Board of Education, District 5
Incumbent: Patricia H. Timm, Republican, elected in 2004.
Challenger: Maris Bentley, Republican, retired teacher and school counselor.

Board of Regents, Uiversity of Nebraska, District 5
Incumbent: Rob Schafer, appointed in 2013.
Challenger: Robert J. Prokop, forensic pathologist and medical consultant.

Judge of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court
Incumbents: Julie A. Martin and James Michael Fitzgerald.

Board of Governors, Southeast Community College, District 2
Candidate: Keith Hammons.

Board of Directors, Nemaha Natural Resources District
Incumbents: J. Duane Sugden (Subdistrict 2); Doug Iske (Subdistrict 3); Kevin L. Thorne (Subdistrict 5); Russel Moss (At-Large Director).
Note: Subdistrict 4 is an open seat, but no candidates filed to be on the ballot.

Board of Directors, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District
Incumbents: Mark G. Spangler (Subdistrict 2) and David M. Landis (At-Large Director).

Educational Service Unit 3
Incumbents: Brett Kuhn  (District 5) and Phil Wright (District 7).

Educational Service Unit 4
Incumbents: Gary Schaffer (District 7) and Faye Allison Hayes (District 9).

Educational Services Unit 6
Incumbents: Eric Malina (District 5) and Sandy Blankenship (District 7).

Board, Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca Public School District 27
Incumbent: Greg Mueller.
Challengers: Barry P. Janssen, Edward J. Zastera and Ryan McIntosh.

Syracuse City Council
Candidates: Laramie Werner and Sheena M. Ammon. Write-in candidates are Kristy Henke and Jerry Werner. There are two seats open on the city council. Alan Britton, a current member of council, is not seeking re-election.

The following are candidate statements for Otoe County Board of Commissioners, Otoe County Sheriff, Syracuse City Council and Syracuse School Board.

Otoe County Commission—District 1

Robert Earll
Hello my name is Robert Earll and I am excited for the opportunity to be your next commissioner.  I work with Nebraska City Fire Rescue full time and reside in Nebraska City with my wife of 17 years and two kids.  I am a conservative Nebraskan with an agricultural background and feel with my experience I can bring better efficiency, transparency and good common sense with experienced in decision making to our county.

Jim Thurman
I am a life long resident of Otoe County and I have lived in rural Otoe County for the past 20 years.  I have owned a successful business for the past 37 years and served on both River City Economic Development Corporation and the Nebraska City Chamber of Commerce.  I feel my business experience and strong relationships with current city, county and economic development officials will enable me to strengthen and increase our tax base through new jobs and new housing in our communities and our rural county.

Otoe County Sheriff

Jeffrey Lant
Hi, my name is Jeff Lant, I’m running for Otoe County Sheriff and I’d appreciate your vote on November 6th.  I’m an experienced law enforcement professional with over 21-years of law enforcement experience, of which the last 14-years have been as a Nebraska City Police Sergeant.  I am an Air Force Veteran, a successful business owner, a husband, father, community leader, and life long resident of Otoe County.  I have your communities’ best interests at heart and will work to both serve and protect them.  

Colin Caudill
I believe the voters of Otoe County should cast their vote for me as their next Otoe County Sheriff based off of my 18 years of Sheriff’s Office training, hands-on experience and knowledge of the of the Sheriff’s Office both as a deputy sheriff, a former Chief Deputy, and an administrator. As the only candidate with Sheriff’s Office experience, I have the understanding of all of the duties of the Sheriff’s Office including but not limited to the management of the jail, prisoner transports, county 911 center, countywide radio communications and paging systems, court security, the serving of all court documents, managing the county’s sex offender registry, and law enforcement. I have the full support and endorsements of Otoe County Sheriff James Gress, Chief Deputy Mike Holland, Jail Administrator Mike Riege and Nemaha County Sheriff Brent Lottman because of their full confidence in my abilities and vision for the future of Otoe County.
I believe the communities and citizens of Otoe County deserve a qualified and experienced sheriff candidate to serve them and lead the Office with professionalism, integrity and trust and I would be honored to do so.

Syracuse City Council
Sheena Ammon
I hope that citizens will vote for me because I am honest and hardworking and while I have no experience in a public office, I am excited to learn new things and offer a fresh new perspective to help lead and grow our great city.  We decided to move to Syracuse because we wanted to settle down and raise our family in a small town. I have fallen in love with our little town since moving here and would be honored to represent the best interests of our town if elected.

Kristy Henke
My name is Kristy Henke I am running as a write in for the Syracuse City Council this November.  I would appreciate all write in votes. I have been a member of council for eight years. I am a business owner in town as well as a home owner.  I have been a local resident my entire life.
I think my experience on the council will continue to benefit the city in the next four years.
I would like to continue to be part of some projects the city is working on and the general growth of the city.

Laramie Werner
I would be honored to have your vote for Syracuse City Council. When I filed earlier this year to run for office, I wasn’t interested in politics, I just wanted to serve my community. Those things are still true.  I am married with three children at home, I am a volunteer EMT for the Syracuse Rescue Squad, and I am a freelance writer for the Syracuse Journal Democrat (which gives me great insight into what is happening with people of all ages in the community). In addition, I work part time as a CNA at Good Samaritan Society in Syracuse where I love taking care of such amazing people, and I am currently in school to be an RN.  I have been to almost every council meeting for over four years, and I know I have a lot to add to the group.  With all of this, I feel I would make a great council member and provide substantial contributions to the community.

Jerry Werner
The citizens of Syracuse deserve quality representation on the City Council.  I would provide this quality representation by listening to the concerns of our citizens.  Then, addressing these concerns in addition to the requirements of the community, on a prioritized basis.  And finally, providing strong unbiased decision making based on accurate research.  My 27 years of experience in business as a financial controller for a major corporation in addition to 14 years on the Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca School Board, reflect a proven record of fiscal responsibility.  I have no hidden agendas, but only the desire to keep Syracuse as the strong and viable community it is today.  For most of my adult life, I have been a resident of Syracuse and have always had a strong community involvement through numerous volunteer organizations.  I ask for your vote on November 6th and would be humbled to serve this great community. As a write-in candidate, my name must be written on the ballot and the oval blackened next to it, for my election to succeed.

Syracuse School Board

Barry Janssen
I chose to run for the school board because I feel the school is the single greatest asset of a small community and I want to be a part of the team that helps lead it. With a spouse working in the district and four kids that will attend school I am passionate about seeing the school continue to succeed and be instrumental in providing a quality education to the kids in the district. We can never predict the challenges the district may face in the future but I want to be a part of the conversation that finds solutions to those challenges and serving on the board will allow me that opportunity. I would appreciate your vote on the 6th, but more importantly just ask that you get out and exercise your right vote. It is one of the most important privileges we have. Thank you.

Ryan McIntosh
As a father of three young children, I have a very vested interest in our schools, and I hope to be a strong voice for the families with young children in our community.  Our school district is one of the largest employers in our community and vital to our community stability and future economic development. I will prioritize the safety of our children and staff, fiscal responsibility, and strategic implementation of new technologies to aid in learning.   

Greg Mueller
Having served 12 years as a current S-D-A school board member, I would provide experience and leadership to the new school board and district. During my tenure on the school board, our district has built a new middle school which greatly improved our student/teacher ratio in our K-8 classrooms. We continually strive to offer our students the best education possible while maintaining one of the lowest tax levies among peer school districts.  Our district is strong both academically and financially, I want to ensure the district continues to improve in these areas. I would appreciate your vote on November 6th.

Ed Zastera
I feel that Syracuse has provided a great education for me and my family.  I want to continue the great things that the District is currently doing and help build on what the District can provide for the Students and the District Patrons in the future.  I have experience serving on boards; I have served on the Lincoln Builders Bureau Board and the Lancaster Habitat for Humanity Board, so I have an understanding of how boards function and the need for cooperation within the communities they serve.