When it comes to fundraising, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle is crushing his competition.
Suttle raised far more than any of his opponents in the last two months — more than doubling the amount raised by his closest money rival.
Campaign finance reports filed this week with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission show Suttle raised more than $250,000 in the past two months. Dan Welch, the former City Council president, raised about $114,000 in cash during that time.
Businessman Dave Nabity and Councilwoman Jean Stothert each raised about $79,000.
State Sen. Brad Ashford continues to lag behind his competitors' fundraising efforts. Ashford trailed the other candidates in 2012 fundraising, and raised slightly less than $60,000 in January and February.
The reports show how each campaign is beginning to spend its money with a month until the April 2 primary.
The five campaigns collectively spent almost $750,000, largely on consulting and advertising, in the first two months of the year.
That amount of spending underscores the competitive nature of this mayor's race, and it continues on a path to be the costliest local election in city history.
Suttle led the way, racking up about $180,000 in expenses. His campaign paid eight consultants nearly $90,000. Salaries for fourteen staffers accounted for another $25,000.
“We have both volunteers and paid staff,” said Suttle's campaign consultant, Gary DiSilvestro. “It's a pretty major task to do the things we feel we have to do to reach all the voters.”
DiSilvestro said Suttle's campaign has yet to buy advertising on radio or television.
On Twitter, Welch's campaign said his financial filing was a “big report for Welch” and called him the “top fundraising challenger.”
Chris Peterson, Welch's campaign manager, said Welch started the campaign as an underdog but has made up ground.
“We've now positioned ourselves for a sprint over the last four weeks using a combination of TV, radio and door-to-door efforts,” Peterson said. “That's going to continue.”
Welch, who was first to hit the television airwaves, spent some $164,000. About half of that was for ads, while another $30,000 went to a Nevada firm for signs, consulting, research and his website.
Stothert spent nearly as much as Welch, with much of the money going to Redstone Communications for consulting and media buys. Her combined spending on advertising and consulting make up the majority of her spending in the period.
Nabity and Ashford each spent about $120,000, with a large portion of their spending going for consulting fees and advertising and printing costs.
After his fundraising success, Suttle has nearly $300,000 left to spend, the most of any candidate. Welch and Stothert have $178,000 and $167,000, respectively. Nabity trails slightly with $131,000 left in the bank.
Ashford's campaign has less than $70,000.
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