OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After Douglas County released final election numbers Friday, Greg Gonzalez narrowly beat Wayne Hudson, setting up a November match-up with Aaron Hanson who easily won the GOP primary.
Both men in the running, Hanson a Republican and Gonzalez a Democrat, have decades of experience within the Omaha Police Department.
They both say it’s going to be an issue-driven campaign.
“Are you making smart decisions? Are you making common sense? Are you standing up for the voiceless and weak and innocent victims and families?” Hanson posed as questions.
“We have great crimefighters that are deputies and so we're just going to continue to improve on that because everybody wants to have their community safe,” said Gonzalez.
Hanson is a sergeant for the OPD and is also supervisor of the Metro Area Task Force that takes in some of the most violent criminals in the area.
After winning his election by 60%, he says his message of being tough on crime today and giving people second chances tomorrow is resonating.
“That’s ultimately where we’re going to get our best public safety gains, by being tough on crime today, but also making sure people are ready for when they get out of prison to take care of their family and be a contributing member of society,” said Hanson.
As for Gonzalez, he rose through the ODP ranks from violent crime to traffic, eventually becoming deputy chief. He points to his Master's Degree in Public Administration and his completion of the FBI Training Academy to show he’s ready to be a top cop in the county.
“So we’re going to build upon the efficiency which is where management and leadership comes into play,” said Gonzalez.
As for the issues the race is on, Gonzalez says he wants to make sure they respond quickly to 911 calls and get out in the community to recruit new talent.
Hanson wants to expand the sheriff’s office role in the city of Omaha, working with OPD to keep an eye on those out on bail and those who've just gotten out from behind bars.
And while the Democratic primary between Gonzalez and Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson got nasty at times, both men running in November say they’re not going to go negative.
“We’re going to stick to the issues, I think voters get tired of negative politics, they get tired of all the social media attacks and all the innuendo,” said Gonzalez.
“This is going to be a positive race and it’s going to be a very robust debate of ideas and experience and qualifications and backgrounds,” said Hanson.
The reason for a likely competitive race is longtime Sheriff Tim Dunning's retirement two years ago, with Tom Wheeler taking over the reigns after Dunning's departure. But Wheeler elected not to run for the position, therefore this is the first time there's been a non-incumbent running in Douglas County since the 1990s.