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Martial Arts Instructor Runs For Mayor, Refuses Campaign Donations

10th Degree Black Belt Christopher Geary & His Unusual Mayoral Run

Geary+in+his+gi
Geary in his gi

Geary in his gi

Photo by Christopher Geary

Photo by Christopher Geary

Geary in his gi

Tom Hermanek, Features Editor

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It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a political candidate who’s honest and down-to-earth. It’s even harder to find one who refuses campaign donations and doesn’t wish to participate in debates.

Martial Arts Instructor and Black Belt Christopher Geary, however, isn’t your typical political candidate. Nevertheless, the 45 year old Professor of Martial Arts thinks that he has what it takes to be the next mayor of Omaha.

Geary is a Marine Corps Veteran and small business owner. He operates Geary’s Shaolin Kempo Karate near 48th & Center Streets, where I visited him to discuss his motivations for running and what he hopes to achieve.

He is by no means a politician, but he has run for public office in the past, such as in 2012 when he sought, but did not win, the district 7 seat in Nebraska’s state senate.

My interview with Geary was largely in contrast to my interview to candidate Taylor Royal. Royal wore a full suit, while Geary wore some causal Nebraska Football apparel. Royal was articulate and aimed to bring his business acumen to city government; Geary came off as a regular guy, sitting at a desk in the corner of his studio, the front of which bore a plaque with the inscription “Prof. Christopher N. Geary, 10th Degree Black Belt.

Photo by Christopher Geary
Geary with one of his students

When introductions were complete, I asked Geary if it would be okay if I recorded the audio from the interview, as is normal for these types of in-person interviews. He declined, though he eventually allowed it.

I soon found out that Geary hopes to eliminate wasteful municipal spending, cut down on crime, and focus on job creation for Omahans. He believes that his choice not to accept campaign donations, though it may be puzzling to some, makes him more fit for the job and keeps him from being controlled by political parties. “I’m the only independent running; I’m not controlled by any political parties,” Geary says.

Geary also made the unconventional choice not to participate in any mayoral debates “due to personal attacks.”

In fact, I happened to visit him just hours before the final debate prior to the primaries. I asked him about his choice, and he expressed his dislike towards other candidates who have budgets of hundreds of thousands in donations, which he claimed were largely thanks to special interest groups. “I have class tonight,” Geary said. “I have a business to run.”

It was clear throughout the interview that although Geary has run (unsuccesfully) for public office in the past, he’s not a politician. Despite being uncoventional (a bit comically, at times) Geary comes off as an ordinary, hard-working guy, and it seems that’s the way he wants to be viewed by voters.

Geary believes that he has a good chance of nabbing one of two top spots in Tuesday’s primary despite the big budgets and volunteer armies of other campaigns, showing me his Facebook page and website visits over the past month. Geary believes that the media has gone too far in characterizing the election as a two-man race.

“It’s going to be a lot closer than they think,” he says.

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Martial Arts Instructor Runs For Mayor, Refuses Campaign Donations