Douglas County Board member Jim Cavanaugh rolled to re-election Tuesday and prepared to keep fighting the county’s controversial downtown justice center proposal.

Cavanaugh, a first-term Democrat, defeated Republican attorney Larry Roland for the District 2 seat from south-central Omaha.

Cavanaugh said he was gratified by the show of support.

“There’s some recognition of the stances we’ve been taking, on the public safety bond, the juvenile justice center and mental health issues,” he said.

Cavanaugh has built his profile on his record on bond issues. He helped the county pass a $45 million bond issue for a new 911 call center and other projects in 2016. And he has led opposition to parts of a current $120 million proposal for a courthouse annex and new juvenile detention center, which is supported by a majority of the County Board.

Cavanaugh supports the courthouse annex but proposes renovating the current juvenile detention center instead of building a new one downtown. He opposes using eminent domain for the downtown site and using a nonprofit corporation to develop the project. He proposes to put the bonds to a vote of the public.

Larry Roland said the campaign was a great experience and opportunity.

“There are parts of Omaha that I didn’t even know there were houses in, where I got to walk to talk to people.”

Cavanaugh had more than 60 percent of the vote Tuesday night in unofficial results. Mary Ann Borgeson and P.J. Morgan, both unopposed Republicans, were also re-elected to the board. 

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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