Rusty Hike will soon return to political office, this time as mayor of Bellevue, the state’s third-largest city.
Hike, a real estate broker and former Sarpy County Board member, easily defeated Dave Wees, an Omaha Public Power District field representative.
Hike, 56, will replace Rita Sanders, who has served as Bellevue’s mayor since 2010. She had announced last year that she wouldn’t seek a third term.
Hike, a Republican, said late Tuesday that a year’s worth of hard work paid off. Hike also acknowledged Wees, who he called a “formidable opponent.”
“We had two different visions for the city ... and I think the public saw that," he said.
Hike is set to be sworn in on Dec. 10. One of his first duties will be to find a new city administrator. Joe Mangiamelli, the current one, has decided to retire.
Hike, who had said during the campaign that he would not retain Mangiamelli, said Tuesday that he plans to name a replacement as quickly as possible.
“I don’t want to say a name now, but I have someone fantastic in mind,” Hike said. He said the person is local.
In other races in Sarpy County, Papillion and Springfield voters overwhelmingly decided to keep their incumbent mayors another four years.
David Black, a Republican, has served as Papillion’s mayor since 2009. He edged out political newcomer Autumn Sky Burns. In Springfield, Bob Roseland also easily beat challenger Roy Swenson.
Black said Tuesday that he viewed his re-election as validation from citizens about the direction of the city. He said the city’s work over his next four years as mayor will remain largely the same.
Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District chairman David Klug easily won the District 2 seat on the Sarpy County Board. He defeated Ben Justman, executive director of the Sarpy County Museum.
Klug, a Republican, will replace County Board member Jim Thompson, who didn’t seek re-election.
And incumbent Jim Warren claimed his District 5 County Board seat over challenger Dennis Tresca. Warren is a pastor and former Gretna mayor. He is a registered Republican.