BREAKING: First results are in for Omaha mayoral recall election

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January 25, 2011

By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

9:30 results put Suttle ahead by only TWO Votes: 28,351 to 28,349, with 133 of 284 precincts reporting

OMAHA, Nebraska: According to those inside his camp, Jim Suttle feels good about holding to his office. But he's still watching results come in from the comfort of a private banquet room at Clancy's bar. In the main section, his rank and file supporters are also attuned to precinct reports trickling in from around the city.

The very first results came in just after polls closed at 8pm, 50.5% to keep Suttle in power and 49.5% to recall him; the difference in votes was a tiny 283. Within the hour, the next round of figures came in; Suttle's tiny lead had been erased, but barely. The recall was ahead by a painfully thin margin, 50.4% to 49.6%, or 306 votes.[1]

The first wave of returns represented the first ballots cast today, from about 8am to 2pm. The second round of results, published 45 minutes later, included more the day's turnout and some early voting numbers.

That the gap did not meaningfully change while more returns came in would seem to confirm the opinion going into today; this will be an election driven by turnout and decided on a slender margin. In such a case, until the election is decided, both sides are anxious. Watching the same set of early numbers that had Suttle feeling upbeat but still keeping to his private room, recall leaders Jim Aspen and David Nabity, setting up at La Casa Pizzaria to watch returns with other recall activists, admitted to some anxiety. There was also cheering scattered among the crowd when fresh results gave them a tiny lead.

The next round of results is a quarter of an hours away and no one is saying if it will begin a comfortable win for someone or more nail biting.