Who's Behind Mudslinging In Mayor's Race?
There have been a number of anonymous attacks on mayoral candidate Jean Stothert within the last week.
It's the shirt that's grabbing headlines in the Omaha's mayoral race. Councilwoman Jean Stothert depicted as a stripper with a quote that says "Jean, quit stripping us of our tax dollars". The photos were first uncovered by political blog LeavenworthSt.com. One shows Councilman Chris Jerram holding it up. The pictures were taken Sunday at McFly's, a known firefighter bar.
"Someone handed the shirt to Chris Jerram and then a firefighter supposedly took the picture, and posted it on social media so they're directly involved," said Bryan Baumgart, the Chairman for Douglas County Republican Party.
Baumgart says he'd like to see firefighter union leaders show accountability over their members. Councilman Jerram apologized to Stothert on KMTV Action 3 News Monday.
"You've got Chris Jerram who's taking some heat now and rightfully so, but you have firefighters that were directly involved and we've heard no word from them, no remorse at all coming from them. It's kind of become the norm,” Baumgart explained. “Some sort of accountability, maybe an apology, some remorse, and then we can move on and concentrate on more important topics."
Stothert and the union have had a strained relationship over staffing and funding. Omaha Firefighters Union President Steve LeClair says they had no part of the creation or distribution of the offensive shirt, and implying so is wrong. He says the recent fire union contract negotiated by Stothert put $19 million in the pockets of their members.
"I don't know why firefighters would want to bully or attack Jean Stothert." LeClair described. "There's really no place in local politics for that type of crude and offensive behavior."
Someone was also distributed flyers, saying Jean Stothert supports using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. Stothert says that is completely false. Omaha Alliance for the Public Trust is the name on the flyer, but no contact for the organization has been found. KMTV Action 3 News filed open records requests with the U.S. Postal Service, and received a response. They tell us because of the Privacy Act of 1974, they will not release the owner of the P.O. Box listed for the Omaha Alliance for the Public Trust.