Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has made it official. The Republican is running for U.S. Senate.
Bruning, who last year formed an exploratory committee, filed a Senate campaign committee Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission, according to message he sent out through his Twitter account.
“I filed paperwork with FEC today making my candidacy for U.S. Senate official. We’re in! Formal announcement will follow in a few weeks,” Bruning wrote.
Bruning is one of the first Republicans to enter the race for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson.
Nelson has said he is leaning toward another run, but he has made no official announcement.
Bruning has made clear from the beginning that he was all but a candidate in the race.
His decision to raise money under the umbrella of an exploratory committee had raised the ire of the Nebraska Democratic Party, which noted that Bruning did not have to disclose his donors until he filed paperwork for an official campaign.
They argued there was nothing “exploratory” about Bruning’s Senate intentions, since he had indicated that he couldn’t foresee a situation in which he did not run.
“Bruning’s filing today is an admission by Nebraska’s chief law enforcement officer that he was knowingly breaking federal law by using a bogus ‘exploratory committee’ to avoid transparency and accountability,” said Jim Rogers, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
Bruning declined to comment on Rogers’ assertion.
With the formation of his senate committee, Bruning will now have to disclose any donors, even those who gave to the exploratory committee.
Bruning is not the first Republican in the race, nor is he likely to be the last. Incoming-State Treasurer Don Stenberg has indicated he plans to run, while investment advisor Pat Flynn has entered the race.
In addition, State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine has said she is considering a bid.
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