Archive for Wednesday, March 1, 1995

NALBANDIAN TOPS FIELD IN PRIMARY

March 1, 1995

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The six top finishers in Tuesday's primary will battle for three city commission seats April 4.

Having survived Tuesday's city primary election, commissioners John Nalbandian and Doug Compton head into the general election campaign from different directions.

Nalbandian, a former mayor, was the top finisher in the primary, which pared a field of 13 candidates to six for the April 4 general election.

"It feels great," Nalbandian said minutes after the final tallies were posted at the Douglas County Courthouse. "In this election, I felt like I could finish anywhere from one to five. I'm really pleased."

Bank executive Bonnie Augustine finished second, while Jo Barnes, owner of a real estate company, took third.

Three commission seats are up for grabs in the general election.

Compton, a two-year commissioner, knows he's got plenty of work ahead to vault into the top three. He finished fourth in the 1991 primary before edging out Bob Schumm by 52 votes in the general election.

"Maybe it's a lucky charm," Compton said. "We'll see what happens. We've done a good job in the last two years. My record speaks for itself."

In the nine city primaries since 1975, no candidate has finished lower than fourth and gone on to win a seat on the commission that same year.

This year, Carl E. Burkhead and Allen Levine finished fifth and sixth in the primary.

"That doesn't intimidate me," said Burkhead, an engineering professor. "I like the story of David and Goliath. ... I'm just going to give it my best shot."

Mayor Jo Andersen, who jumped from third in her primary to first in the general election two years ago, said candidates would need to do their homework, meet voters face to face and stick to their main issues to get elected.

"Don't spread yourself too thin," she said.

Voters trimmed seven candidates from the ballot Tuesday: Lena Johnson (2,218), Greg Keenan (928), Frank Doden (819), LeRoy Young (686), Bob Cutler (528), Paul N. Longabach (348) and Bill Lee (265).

"I was wondering what I was going to say to the press," said Doden, head comedy writer for the East Side Comedy Shop. "On one hand, I find it frightening that 819 people thought I should be on the city commission, but I find it even more frightening that thousands of people would want some of these other people to be on the city commission."

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