A Nebraska lawmaker announced Wednesday that she is stepping down to focus on her race for mayor of Lincoln.
Sen. Suzanne Geist, a conservative lawmaker, made the announcement a day after Tuesday’s primary in the mayoral race, in which she came in second to incumbent Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. That means both Baird and Geist will face off in the May 2 general election.
‘Those of you who know me well, you know that I give 100% to everything I do,’ Geist said. ‘I need to give my full attention to my other commitments.’
Her resignation takes affect at the end of Thursday, she said. Republican Gov. Jim Pillen will select a replacement to finish out Geist’s four-year term, which runs through the end of 2024. That replacement will have the option of seeking election to the seat in November 2024.
Pillen said in a news release that he plans to name Geist’s replacement on Thursday.
The announcement also followed Geist’s part in a controversy Tuesday night on the legislative floor as lawmakers debated into the night. Some progressive lawmakers said it was Geist’s plans to attend her mayoral election event Tuesday night, instead of participating in legislative debate, that led the conservative leadership to ditch a scheduled debate of a controversial bill that would give public money for private school tuition.
Because 33 votes are needed to stop debate on a bill before it can advance, conservatives need every vote they can get to advance bills. The Nebraska Legislature is officially nonpartisan, but lawmakers tend to self-identify as Republican or Democrat. There are currently 32 registered Republicans in the 49-member body and 17 registered Democrats.