Bruning burning through cash in Nebraska Senate race

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) raised more than $400,000 for his Senate bid in the last three months of 2011, he announced Wednesday, and has pulled in $2.8 million over the course of the campaign.

Bruning's fourth-quarter haul is less than the almost $600,000 he raised in the previous quarter, and also shows he is quickly burning through cash as it comes in. Bruning had $1.6 million in the bank at the end of the third quarter of 2011, and increased it to only $1.7 million in the fourth quarter, meaning he spent three of every four dollars he raised during the quarter.

But a Republican source pointed out that Bruning has been running statewide television ads for the past few weeks, which will help him build his name recognition early and could work to his advantage in the long run.

Bruning has been considered the front-runner in the race for Nebraska's open Senate seat, but Tea Party pick Don Stenberg has attracted the backing and financial support of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his Senate Conservatives Fund.

The winner of the GOP primary had been expected to face Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in the general election, but Nelson decided to retire, leaving Democrats without a viable candidate to compete for the seat in the conservative-leaning state.

This post was updated on Jan. 26, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.