First GOP debate: The four Republican candidates for the Senate nomination will have their first debate tonight. The 60-minute debate will begin at 8 p.m. CST at the Gering Civic Center. Look for coverage on Omaha.com and in Thursday's World-Herald.
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Republican Ben Sasse ended last year with a $1 million war chest, while Republican Sid Dinsdale proved he could raise some cash.
Sasse and Dinsdale are among four Republicans running for a wide-open U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska. Both recently filed their end-of-year reports with the Federal Election Commission, as did former State Treasurer Shane Osborn and Omaha attorney Bart McLeay.
The reports showed that Sasse, who is president of Midland University, continues to hold the money lead in the four-man primary race. He raised nearly $570,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, ending 2013 with $1 million in the bank.
Osborn also had a healthy quarter, raising a respectable $369,000 in the final three months of the year. Overall, he ended the year with $582,000 in the bank.
So far, Osborn has been stockpiling his money and has not gone on the air with television advertisements. But he clearly will have the cash to run a statewide television advertising campaign.
Dinsdale didn't have as much in his war chest, but he also hasn't been raising money as long as the other candidates. Dinsdale was the last of the four to jump into the race, and he has been raising money only since Sept. 15.
Overall, Dinsdale raised $685,000 and ended the year with $471,313.
Dinsdale noted that all his cash in the report was raised from individuals and organizations. Dinsdale, president of Pinnacle Bank, has said that he will spend some of his personal wealth on his campaign. When, and how much, remains a big question in the race. If he decides to pump his own money into the campaign, Dinsdale could instantly become the financial front-runner in the race.
The fourth candidate in the race, McLeay, trailed the others in fundraising.
McLeay, who is making his first bid for political office, raised $134,000 in the final three months of last year. He ended with $193,000 in the bank.
McLeay is hoping to get a boost during the Olympics next month. His campaign has already purchased $33,500 in television advertisements to run during broadcasts of the international games.
Democrat Dave Domina entered the race this month and did not have to file a report.