Precious McKesson

Precious McKesson of Omaha will cast an electoral vote from Nebraska for Joe Biden.

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It will be a big moment for Precious McKesson.

"A magical feeling," she says.

"Little girls that look like me will have representation that looks like us," she says.

"I am overjoyed."

On Dec. 14, McKesson will travel from Omaha to Lincoln to cast a presidential electoral vote for Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who will be the first woman to hold the nation's second-highest office.

The first Black woman.

"I wish my grandmother, who passed away in June, would have been able to see this," McKesson says.

McKesson played a leading role in making it happen as political director for the Biden campaign in metropolitan Omaha's 2nd District, where Blacks and Latinos were mobilized to help Biden win an electoral vote in a dependably Republican state.

Nebraska allocates an electoral vote to the winner in each of its three congressional districts, while awarding the other two votes to the statewide victor.

The 2nd District is the only competitive presidential battleground in the state with Blacks in North Omaha and Latinos in South Omaha empowered to help determine the winner.

In 2008, Barack Obama won that electoral vote.

Lincoln cast a similar percentage of its presidential votes for Biden, too. But Lancaster County was the only county in the 1st District to favor the Democratic presidential nominee, and its electoral vote was easily claimed by Republican President Donald Trump. 

"Precious held down the fort in the 2nd District," Democratic State Chair Jane Kleeb said. "She is amazing."

McKesson is a single mom with a 16-year-old daughter and is the caregiver for a 36-year-old brother who is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of gunshot wounds suffered in Omaha in 2009.

Her daughter is pursuing college scholarship opportunities now, McKesson said, "and I'm hoping she will be able to go to Howard University" in Washington, D.C. — Harris' alma mater. 

When her brother missed the practical deadline for casting his mail-in vote earlier this month and told McKesson how much he wanted to be able to vote in this election, she walked with him in his wheelchair a mile to the polling place.

"I am overwhelmed with joy for so many people who believed this year that this is our vote," McKesson said.

What she describes as "communities of color" were key to Biden's electoral vote victory, most notably in building the solid 23,092-vote margin. 

That margin was constructed with a flood of Biden votes in largely Black north Omaha and largely Latino south Omaha.

And those results demonstrate that "the message got to the right people" in terms of conducting a winning campaign, McKesson said. "We showed people that their voice mattered."

Kleeb credits McKesson with performing an "amazing" job.

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha first introduced Kleeb to McKesson, who had been engaged as "a neighborhood activist" in her community.

"I hired her on the spot," Kleeb said. 

McKesson has moved into the role of the state party's finance director now.

"I didn't want her pigeonholed," Kleeb said. "She's a fighter. Her future is bright."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSdon

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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