Longtime Public Service Commission member Lowell Johnson of North Bend will hand District 3 to fellow Republican Tim Schram, who on Tuesday defeated Matt Connealy, 56 percent of the votes to 44 percent, according to unofficial results.
Dodge County is one of eight counties in District 3 of the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
Connealy, a Democrat, is in his last year in the Nebraska Unicameral because of term limits. He has served in the Legislature since 1998.
Schram said he credits his win to his supporters.
“I had a close primary,” he said. “I won my primary 52-48 percent. We analyzed where we didn’t do so good and really focused on those areas. I feel we had a balanced campaign. We worked the parades real hard this summer. Worked the county fairs. We had a balanced radio/TV/newspaper ad campaign. We had volunteers who worked hard door to door. We had a corps of volunteers who worked really hard.
“No candidate ever wins an election single-handedly,” he continued. “It takes a lot of dedicated volunteers. I was fortunate. Our sign crews did an excellent job. Had good crew going door to door. I have to also credit Gov. Heineman for supporting me. The (Nebraska) Republican Party was very helpful. Lowell Johnson helped me as well. There’s a lot of pieces to the puzzle of a campaign.”
Schram said Heineman’s endorsement was used in a campaign mailer.
As a member of the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners for 12 years, Schram said he also got support from commissioners and supervisors from other counties in the district.
“I made a lot of good contacts with county commissioners and supervisors in other counties through my serving as a Sarpy County commissioner. They helped me a lot in counties where I wasn’t quite as well known.”
Schram also thanked Connealy for the type of campaign they were able to run.
“I do want to say that I have a lot of respect for Sen. Connealy,” he said. “He ran a good campaign. I know he worked hard, and we worked hard. The thing I’m really proud of is that ours was one of the few campaigns that ran on issues. We got out and met a lot of people. It’s refreshing that I was in a race where Matt was totally above board, and I really appreciate that. I put it in this perspective, in all the races I’ve been in, I never view that I am running against someone. I’m running for the job.”
Now, Schram said he has to finish preparing to take the seat on the public service commission.
“I’ve been studying the past year — reading minutes, attending meetings and talking to staff,” he said. “I’ll go to more meetings. I’ll also need to talk with some of the industry people to get their perspectives.”
The public service commission regulates natural gas, telecommunications, railroad and grain storage industries in Nebraska. The PSC also has some oversight responsibilities with taxi and bus line services.
Attempts to reach Connealy by press time today were unsuccessful.