Photo showcase: 2012 primary election night parties
Senate: Fischer upsets Bruning, will face Kerrey
More local races: Scandal costs Gretna mayor her job
Voter turnout: Normal day for some; others see confusion
• More World-Herald coverage: omaha.com/election
* * * * *
It's the ultimate high school rematch: the one who sat on the sidelines versus the one who got to play.
But now the roles are reversed. U.S. Rep. Lee Terry may have watched Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing star at Northwest High. But now it's Ewing, who won the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, winning a chance to play the seven-time champion, Terry.
Ewing handily beat State Sen. Gwen Howard to secure the Democratic Party's nomination for the U.S. House. He went right on the attack against his former school mate.
"For far too long, this congressional district has been without adequate representation for the citizens of this community and it's time we change that," Ewing told a small cheering crowd gathered at the Field Club.
The two high school friends were a grade apart. Ewing started taking digs at Terry a few months ago when he referred to the incumbent congressman as the football team's “water boy,” while Ewing was starting at tight end and defensive end.
Terry on Tuesday acknowledged he had been the school's “equipment manager” and said the race between the two would be, in his words, "interesting."
Ewing said his campaign was only beginning. "Championship teams don't celebrate at halftime. They play all four quarters," he said. "This is about winning in November."
The congressman missed his own victory party Tuesday because he had to fly to Washington on House business.
In securing his party's nomination, Terry, as expected, beat four other Republicans: financial advisor Brett Lindstrom, University of Nebraska at Omaha professor Jack Heidel, former Douglas County GOP chairman Glenn Freeman and Paul Anderson, who had filed as a pauper. However, his four opponents captured nearly 40 percent of the GOP vote.
Terry is Nebraska's senior member of Congress. He has consistently won in Nebraska's most competitive House district.
Ewing raised four times as much money as Howard, and he was viewed by most party leaders as the stronger general election challenger to Terry.
Shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m., Howard knew it was over as she watched the early returns come in. She was cheered by her daughter Sara's successful effort to land the nomination for the District 9 legislative seat Howard herself had represented for eight years.
Ewing is a former police officer who rose to the rank of deputy chief before he retired in 2006. As county treasurer, he oversees a budget of $5.4 million for an office that primarily handles motor vehicle registrations and renewals, plus property tax payments.
In a letter published this week in the Sunday World-Herald, former Northwest High Principal Jack Hallstrom called his two former students “talented.”
Ewing and Terry might visit their old principal soon, before the craziness of the campaign gets under way.
Hallstrom seems to be looking for a win-win scenario for his two proteges, hoping voters re-elect Terry and, by doing so, keep Ewing on the job as county treasurer.
* * * * *
Live chat: Watch the replay of our afternoon live coverage to see reports from readers and World-Herald staff about polling places around the city