Sasse outraises opponents in 1st Q

Nebraska Republican Senate candidate Ben Sasse outraised his three primary opponents in the first quarter and has over $1 million in the bank heading into the final stretch of the campaign.

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Sasse raised $884,000 in the first quarter. His next-closest opponent in the primary, former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, raised $617,000, with about a quarter of that from within Nebraska. Sasse's campaign didn't have in-state fundraising numbers for the first quarter, but said overall the campaign had raised about a third of its money from in-state contributors.

Banker Sid Dinsdale raised $210,000 during the quarter, 84 percent of that from within the state.

Sasse had more than $1 million in the bank, compared with Osborn's $768,000 and Dinsdale's $98,000.

Sasse loaned his campaign $14,000, according to the World-Herald, and has $68,000 in debt, after running ads in January, while Osborn has no debt and hasn’t contributed any of his own money to his campaign.

The relatively low in-state fundraising for both Osborn and Sasse further underscores an ongoing debate between the two frontrunners over who can truly call the state his home.

Osborn’s contending that he’s the Nebraska candidate in the race, in contrast to Sasse, who’s spent time in Washington working in the Bush administration and as a staffer in Congress.

Osborn has made Sasse’s time in Washington a focus of a new attack ad that charges he “spent more time working in Washington than working in Nebraska,” and declares that “Washington is for Sasse because Sasse is beholden to Washington.” Sasse's campaign says that since moving back to Nebraska to lead Midland University, he's actually spent more time overall in the state than he did overall in Washington.

In the new ad, Osborn charges that the “greatest threat” to the country is a “government run by Washington, for Washington,” and urges, “let’s take it back.”

The two are locked in a fierce fight for frontrunner status in the primary, but Sasse has picked up some momentum over the past month with a series of high-profile conservative endorsements. Osborn’s campaign touted the endorsement of former Omaha mayor and congressman Hal Daub on Tuesday, who cited his military record and time as state treasurer as reasons for his support.

—This piece has been updated to correct in-state fundraising figures that had been initially misreported in the World-Herald.