Nebraska U.S. Senate Race TV Ads: $5 Million and Counting

Photograph by Nati Harnik/AP Photo

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning makes calls to potential voters from his campaign office in Omaha, Neb., on May 14, 2012.

Nebraska voters are choosing nominees today for a U.S. Senate seat in a state that’s already seen more than $5 million in television ads.

That’s a lot of attack ads for the 1.8 million residents of the nation’s 14th-least populous state. And it’s not over — the candidates vying to succeed retiring Democrat Ben Nelson will spend millions more.

The biggest-spending candidate has been state Attorney General Jon Bruning, who paid for more than $1 million in ads to run 4,475 times on network television through yesterday, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

Bruning is trying to fend off a late surge from state Senator Deb Fischer in a race that also includes state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Stenberg spent just $67,250 on television and Fischer just $22,400, though outside groups critical of Bruning and supportive of other candidates have whittled his advantage on the airwaves.

The Club for Growth, an anti-tax group that opposes most increases in the federal borrowing limit, spent $445,400 on ads attacking Bruning’s record on health care, tax and spending issues.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsPXg7CtgLg

Ending Spending Action Fund, which is funded by former TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. chairman Joe Ricketts, paid for $70,120 in ads promoting Fischer and attacking Bruning.

Stenberg has help from the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group linked to Senator Jim DeMint that’s paid $572,480 to air pro-Stenberg ads 1,657 times.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Dt6nNHm68

The likely Democratic nominee is Bob Kerrey, a former Senator seeking to reclaim the seat he held from 1989 to 2001. Kerrey spent $738,660 on ads designed to reintroduce him to Nebraska voters after more than a decade away from daily life in the state.

Other outside groups involved in the race include Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. It spent $611,710 on ads attacking Nelson and Kerrey. Crossroads GPS, another Republican group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors, spent $402,270 on ads attacking Nelson.

Majority PAC, which has ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, paid for $271,010 in ads last winter praising Nelson, who announced his retirement last December. The Nebraska Democratic Party paid for $752,550 in ads last year promoting Nelson and attacking Bruning, Fischer and Stenberg.

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