Outside groups flood Nebraska with campaign ads
May 13th, 2014
02:12 PM ET
7 months ago

Outside groups flood Nebraska with campaign ads

(CNN) - Tuesday is more than just primary day in Nebraska.

It also marks the end of a wild three-way battle for the state's GOP Senate nomination, which may bring relief to Nebraska residents who've been inundated with campaign commercials. More than $3 million has been spent to run ads in the race, with the vast majority of that spending coming from outside groups.

The majority of the money went to run spots backing Midland University President Ben Sasse, who has in recent weeks won the support of a dozen tea party and other conservative groups, and high-profile leaders on the right like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Some polling indicates Sasse's the frontrunner in the race.

The original favorite was former state treasurer Shane Osborn, who is supported from some in the Republican establishment. The wild card in the contest is Omaha banker Ben Dinsdale, who thanks to an infusion of $1 million of his own money has surged in polling. The winner of Tuesday's GOP primary will be considered the favorite over Democratic trial attorney David Domina in the heavily Republican state's November general election. The winner of that race will succeed retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns.

Much of the outside spending has come in the past couple of weeks. Among the biggest spenders are the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, two Washington-based organizations that have a history of backing conservative candidates, including many who have challenged incumbent GOP lawmakers in primaries.

Without a horse in this race, the biggest outside spenders this cycle - Americans for Prosperity, American Crossroads, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, groups which tend to back more moderate Republican candidates - have stayed on the sidelines.

Those three groups spent big bucks in last week's GOP Senate primary in North Carolina, where the vast majority of the money to run ads also came from outside organizations.

All that spending in Nebraska meant viewers there got a taste of what those in battleground states have experienced for years.

"What I find interesting isn't the massive spending on its face, since that's a sign of the times, but the newness of it for parts of the country that weren't exposed to this in 2012, and in races for which people aren't used to seeing it, like a primary. Omaha saw this is 2012 because of its proximity to Iowa. But Lincoln and North Platte?" said Elizabeth Wilner, vice president at Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad spending on broadcast and national cable TV.

Complete coverage: 2014 midterm elections

While national groups have flooded Nebraska airwaves and mailboxes, the race - unlike the one in North Carolina - isn't grabbing national headlines. While the race is a measure of tea party strength - a Sasse victory will give the grassroots conservative movement some bragging rights - this isn't considered a tea party vs. establishment contest.

Key races to watch in 2014

When it comes to the massive influx of outside spending, there's some history in Nebraska. The state's other U.S. senator, Republican Deb Fischer, won her 2012 primary with a closing push of outside spending on her behalf.

 


Filed under: 2014 • Nebraska • Senate • Senate Race
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    So much money spent on elections .

    The worst government money can buy .

    May 13, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Just more proof that Tip O'Neil would be wrong if he said "all politics is local" today.

    May 13, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @The majority of the money went to run spots backing Midland University President Ben Sasse, who has in recent weeks won the support of a dozen tea party and other conservative groups, and high-profile leaders on the right like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Some polling indicates Sasse's the frontrunner in the race.
    -------------
    Oh yeah! Go for it. Let the CRAZY run free. Voters need to see this. Give them a microphone and let them talk about anything that pops into their head. Liberals and comedians everywhere will thank you.

    May 13, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Some Nebraska Republicans have been telling people that their energy bills could go up if the KXL is not approved, and quickly.

    May 13, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Chris-E...al

    T.V networks love to see that cash flowing like a river that makes its way to the sea and man it goes and goes . Lots of greenback dirty cash from the left and the left .

    May 13, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. it must be said

    Thomas
    So much money spent on elections .
    The worst government money can buy .
    --

    Still probably far LESS than people spent on potato chips and soda that week in Nebraska. Who cares? Let the free flow of information and viewpoints flow and let the people decide what and who to believe. What makes you think it should be any other way? It seems the left is alway s afraid of people having more information.

    May 13, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Chris-E...al

    T.V networks love to see that cash flowing like a river that makes its way to the sea and man it goes and goes . Lots of greenback dirty cash from the left and the left .
    --------------------------------–
    from the article:

    "The majority of the money went to run spots backing Midland University President Ben Sasse, who has in recent weeks won the support of a dozen tea party and other conservative groups, and high-profile leaders on the right like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Some polling indicates Sasse's the frontrunner in the race."

    Apparently, facts do not matter to you, do they? Not even when they're staring you straight in the face.

    May 13, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Tommy G

    Sniffit
    Just more proof that Tip O'Neil would be wrong if he said "all politics is local" today.
    --

    Other states Democrat Senators voted to wreck my healthcare system and jam Obamacare down our throats so yes, politics is not as local as it once was. The American people have watched, learned and adapted.

    May 13, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    Hey, voters of Nebraska , WHAT have these GOP CLOWNS DONE FoR YOU in the last SIX YEARS?????? Let me answer it for you, NOTHING. These same as they have done the the REST of us, and these GOP clowns think they deserve reelection?????? FOR WHAT ?????

    May 13, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. CALIFORNIA

    I can always tell when an article on CNN will be positive or negative just by what they're talking about and what party they're talking about.

    If it's a democrat one it's positive and if it's a republican one it's negative.

    May 13, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Tony D

    Hey, voters of Nebraska , WHAT have these GOP CLOWNS DONE FoR YOU in the last SIX YEARS?????? Let me answer it for you, NOTHING. These same as they have done the the REST of us, and these GOP clowns think they deserve reelection?????? FOR WHAT ?????
    ---

    But DEMOCRATS have controlled the federal government the last 6 years! The Republican controlled House has passed numerous bills only to have the Demorcat controlled Senate graveyard bury them without a vote. Harry Reid should be renamed the Grim Reaper of the Senate, if a bill moves, he kills it.

    Why instead don't you list all of the things Democrats have done? Jammed Obamacare down our throats, kept unemployment high, wasted a trillion dollars, raised taxes, lied repeatedly, killed the Keystone pipeline and jobs, turned the USA into a laughing stock around the globe.

    May 13, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    CALIFORNIA

    I can always tell when an article on CNN will be positive or negative just by what they're talking about and what party they're talking about.

    If it's a democrat one it's positive and if it's a republican one it's negative.
    ---------------------------------------
    I might agree with you. It's speaks volumes about the differences in what Democrats and Republicans talk about, doesn't it?

    May 13, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    They don't care JK a vote for the GOP is a vote against Obama. They could care less that the GOP is destroying the middle class. Poor stupid necks would vote for Lucifer if they thought it would hurt the commie, Muslim, Arab Enn in the WH.

    May 13, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Allegedly, the 'illegal Immigrants' are here doing jobs 'Americans' won't do.

    Who is going to do these jobs when the 'illegal Immigrants' can compete on an even basis with our current middle class, and with those here legally who aspire to middle class but have yet to get there?

    Also, if the 'illegal Immigrants' are denied the ability to do these jobs, by enforcement of our current laws, might these jobs then pay enough to attract legal workers, as they once did? Or are current American workers just to lazy? After all, if they can make $15 an hour flipping burgers (after the minimum wage hike), why do hard, dirty work like construction?
    --––
    I asked the exact same questions a few weeks ago... the crickets were deafening."
    ===
    That's because the question is downright stupid and based on ridiculous assumptions. The correct phrasing is that illegal immigrants are doing the jobs "Americans won't do for the same under-the-table slave wages that employers would rather be paying for those jobs." If everyone is given equal footing and the employer side of the immigration equation is enforced, employers will have to pay minimum wage AT LEAST because they won't have the option of hiring illegals to pay below minimum wage. Instead, they'll have to pay the federally and state mandated slightly-above-slave minimum wages. Illegal immigrants currently usurp those jobs because employers don't want to pay minimum wage for folks to do janitorial work, etc. They would much rather have someone who can't seek recourse to the state or courts for abusive labor practices. As for this idiot question:

    "Or are current American workers just to lazy? After all, if they can make $15 an hour flipping burgers (after the minimum wage hike), why do hard, dirty work like construction?"

    Minimum wage is minimum wage. $15 isn't the "minimum wage hike"...it's proposed at $10.10 phased in over 3 years. You don't get minimum wage for flipping burgers but then NOT get it for construction or custodial or landscaping work, etc. It applies across the board (with few minor exceptions like restaurant servers, etc.). Think before you speak.

    May 13, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Tony D wrote:

    But DEMOCRATS have controlled the federal government the last 6 years! The Republican controlled House has passed numerous bills only to have the Demorcat controlled Senate graveyard bury them without a vote. Harry Reid should be renamed the Grim Reaper of the Senate, if a bill moves, he kills it.

    Why instead don't you list all of the things Democrats have done? Jammed Obamacare down our throats, kept unemployment high, wasted a trillion dollars, raised taxes, lied repeatedly, killed the Keystone pipeline and jobs, turned the USA into a laughing stock around the globe.
    --------------------------------
    Don't let reality get in the way of your rant. Speaker Boehner blocks bills from the Senate. Besides, it is unfair to lay the blame for House bills not getting bills at Majority Leader Reid's feet. Reid is just the messenger. It's his job to announce which bills will get floor votes and which ones will not.

    Democrats can filibuster bills coming up in the Senate just as easily as Republicans can. In fact, I'd bet that most every bill that in the Senate that doesn't get a vote gets filibustered by one side or the other. Republicans block bills in the Senate written by Democrats, and Democrats filibuster Republican bills coming out of the House.

    Unlike Boehner, there are legitimate reasons beyond Reid's control for bills not to get a floor vote in the Senate. In the House, Boehner just simply ignores the bills coming from the Senate. Boehner is the sole decision maker in the House when it comes to deciding what gets a vote, and what does not.

    May 13, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Donna

    But when the Democrats do the very same thing in the general election, it will be called a giant wave of grass roots support.

    Are you all beginning to understand how the power of the left wing media and the words used in these articles are biased and slanted and carefully chosen to have a certain affect on the reader?

    May 13, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Hector Slagg

    As long as federal elected officials vote and approve money for social programs that are nation wide then everybody has a right to support that candidate or candidates. Want to get the money out of politics? Get the federal government out of collecting and disbursing money!! I can give you 18 Trillion reasons to return all social programs to the states.

    May 13, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Donna

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....
    They could care less that the GOP is destroying the middle class.
    --

    Obama and the Democrats have held power now for 8 years and the middle class has been decimated, median income declining enormously, record unemployment for record time, being forced to buy healthcare they can't afford, tax increases, food and fule increasing, people raiding their 401k plans to survive, trying to survive by getting on food stamps and disablity.

    Obama, Reid & Pelosi, the Three Stooges, have been the worse thing to happen to the middle class EVER.

    May 13, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    Donna

    Are you all beginning to understand how the power of the left wing media and the words used in these articles are biased and slanted and carefully chosen to have a certain affect on the reader?
    ----------

    cue the Fox News/Washington Times/NY Post/talk radio ranters who pillory Obama on a daily basis with NO other opinions offered

    May 13, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Really Donna? 8 years?? When I lost my job 6 years ago Bush was in office. Not Obama. Heck I had just found out who Obama was 8 years ago. Two off the books wars, tax breaks for the rich!!! Actually 8 years ago the company I was working for started their layoffs. When President Obama got elected this country was in a shambles. But many are back to work now. Yes at a lower wage but still working again. President Obama was handed a bowl of doo doo in January 2009 and he has done a great job despite the GOP and their #1 goal of making him a one term POTUS.

    May 13, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    Obama and the Democrats have held power now for 8 years and the middle class has been decimated, median income declining enormously, record unemployment for record time, being forced to buy healthcare they can't afford, tax increases, food and fule increasing, people raiding their 401k plans to survive, trying to survive by getting on food stamps and disablity.

    Obama, Reid & Pelosi, the Three Stooges, have been the worse thing to happen to the middle class EVER.
    ---------------------------
    It hasn't quite been 8 years, and Pres. Obama is 5 years and 4 months into his administration. BUT. Except for that glitch in 2010 when Republicans promised jobs and didn't deliver them, do you know why the majority voted Republicans out? It's simple.

    Republicans have no ideas except for the ones that were in place when all of the economic turmoil began. At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Republicans had no solutions, except for two. Let's give $700 billion to Wall Street banks, give the "job creators" another massive tax cut, and then do nothing else. Let the chips fall where they may was the Republican solution. Republicans made it blatantly obvious what their priorities were, and they were not in the best interests of most Americans. And so, most Americans voted against them in 2008, and again in 2012, and will do so again in 2014 and 2016. Republicans were given a second chance in 2010 and blew it by overreaching.

    May 13, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |