Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hal Daub Is Running for Mayor

On Check with Chip last week you heard Hizzoner say he was "seriously considering" it.

An experienced political person said something in 2001, when Mike Fahey challenged Daub for the mayoralty, that I will always remember. He said that race was the same as every other race Daub had run. Daub's opponent was not the issue. It was Daub versus Daub. Would Daub's ability and accomplishments be overcome by his sometimes-abrasive style?

Daub barely beat Brenda Council in the 1997 mayor's race. Some said if Council had not been black and female, Daub would have lost. That's not the way I want the world to work, but it could be true.

Along came an affable white guy (Fahey in 2001) with strong business and community connections that encompassed Republicans as well as Democrats, and the scale tipped the other way for Daub.

I guess that means the opponent does matter to some degree, but the point still holds that the election really was more of a referendum on Daub.

In the late 1990s the Omaha World-Herald chastised Daub for his way of doing business. The OWH surprised the political world by endorsing Fahey over Daub in that 2001 campaign.

I am not a peer of Hal Daub. I am not in his class as a politician and I certainly have not done for the community what he has done -- in private life as well as public. That's not false modesty. That's just fact.

So I am in no position to judge Hal Daub. However, I offer this observation: the Hal Daub that I have come to know since joining the Republican Party in December 2003 does not appear to be the same person who generated such conflicted reactions in the body politic in years past.

Make no mistake: the kinder, gentler Daub is still a smart, savvy, assertive, in-it-to-win-it competitor. But it seems that he has taken to heart the lessons learned in his last few years as mayor.

It's an interesting time for Daub to declare his candidacy. The failed recall and the NCAA/CWS deal arguably leave Fahey well-positioned for re-election a year from now.

Daub will have to out-positive Fahey. He can't just criticize Fahey. That will be dismissed as "same old Hal." Daub will have to captivate the public by presenting a vision of the progress possible under his leadership.

I look forward to that.


OmaSteak said...

As stated in a previous post, I'm sorry to see Hal entering the Mayor's race since it's likely to freeze out other younger Republicans who might have taken a shot. Rumor has it that Fahey isn't going to seek another term...although I doubt that at if true, an energetic younger candidate with a strong plan for public safety and business expansion would have a good chance.

Terry_Jim said...

I recall the editorial supporting Fahey as listing the many accomplishments of Daub, then switching direction- saying that it was time for new leadership and endorsing the Dem, Mike Fahey.
Alternatively, when Mayor Hanafan of C.B. was up for re-election a little later that year, the OWH listed Hanafan's accomplishments and recommended that C.B. voters keep him on the job.

I chalked it up to Democrat partisans at the OWH, or someone who had axes to grind with Hal.

I've wondered if you were on the editorial board at the time of these endorsements, and how they were arrived at.

Too bad Dave Nabity doesn't run for Mayor, he'd be a good one, I think.

I enjoy listening to your show while I work.
Regards, Terry

Chip Maxwell said...


Yes, bizarre endorsement editorial, praising Daub and then choosing Fahey.

No, I was gone from the OWH and serving in the state legislature during that election cycle. I've heard that it was simply a case of then-publisher John Gottschalk deciding that Hal Daub's abrasive style outweighed the substance of his accomplishments, but that's just hearsay.

I'd love to see Dave Nabity run for mayor. I introduced him at his press conference in 2005 when he announced he was running for governor. He is putting his political energy into an advocacy group to support candidates who share his ideas.

Thanks for listening!