LINCOLN — Former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub is headed to Varner Hall, the University of Nebraska's headquarters, to begin the next phase of his political career.
In the Nebraska Board of Regents District 8 race, Daub beat his opponent, Ann Ferlic Ashford, by about 5 percentage points.
Daub, 70, also is a former congressman who now practices law in Omaha. He described serving on the Board of Regents as the cap to his long career in public service.
His law degree is from the University of Nebraska, where his brother and his parents also graduated. Since 1990, the Daub Family Foundation has provided need-based scholarships to NU.
Ashford, 52, a human resources manager and also a lawyer, was making a bid for the seat being vacated by her father, Randy Ferlic, who chose not to run for a third term on the board. Ashford's husband, Brad, is a state senator who is running for Omaha mayor in 2013.
Daub said Ashford had been a formidable opponent.
“I pay her compliments for running an aggressive and issue-oriented campaign,” he said. “This was a very competitive race in Omaha. I didn't take it lightly.”
Controlling tuition costs became a major campaign theme, with Ashford proposing a one-year freeze on tuition rates and Daub calling for close scrutiny of the NU budget.
Daub will be one of three new faces joining the eight-member nonpartisan board when its new term begins in January. Among four seats up this year, Bob Whitehouse of Papillion was the only incumbent to seek re-election, running in District 4 in eastern Douglas County and northeast Sarpy County.
Whitehouse, 68, is the coordinator of an after-school program for elementary and middle school students in the Omaha Public Schools. He survived a challenge by Larry Bradley, 48, an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Lavon Heidemann, 53, a state senator and farmer from Elk Creek, defeated Mike Jones, 62, an insurance agency owner from David City, for the District 5 seat representing southeast Nebraska and part of Lancaster County.
Heidemann was barred by term limits from seeking another term in the Legislature, where he was the Appropriations Committee chairman. He emphasized NU's role as an economic engine and won the Nebraska Right to Life endorsement by opposing embryonic stem cell research.
In northeast Nebraska's District 3, Jim Pillen, a former Husker defensive back and now president of one of the largest hog farms in the U.S., ran a well-financed campaign to defeat Norfolk lawyer David Copple. Pillen stressed the importance of having a farmer on the board to represent agricultural interests.