LINCOLN — State Sen. Carol Blood more than doubled her fundraising for the Nebraska governor’s race this summer. But she was significantly outraised by her GOP opponent, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen.
Blood, the Democratic nominee, raised $262,000 in the third quarter: $242,000 from individuals and about $19,000 from political action committees and corporations.
By early October, Blood had raised a total of $404,000 and spent $369,000. Her campaign listed $39,000 in cash on hand, including money raised for previous races. Blood is a business consultant from Bellevue.
Pillen raised $1.16 million from June 15 to Oct. 4. His tally included $254,000 from individuals and $909,000 from PACs and corporations.
By early October, Pillen had raised $10.6 million and spent $10 million, leaving his campaign with $600,000 in cash on hand. He is a veterinarian and hog producer from Columbus.
Political observers expect Pillen to win a red-state race where Republicans hold a voter registration advantage over Democrats of more than 260,000, state election records show. Republicans have held the Governor’s Mansion since 1999.
But those political observers acknowledged the effects of a bruising GOP primary on Pillen, including the lack of an endorsement by his top competitor, multi-state agribusinessman Charles Herbster.
The primary already made this the costliest governor’s race in Nebraska history. Top spenders in the field of nine GOP candidates were Herbster at more than $11 million, Pillen at more than $9 million and State Sen. Brett Lindstrom at $2.6 million.
Blood, at a recent Omaha town hall that drew 75-100 people, said she feels new energy statewide. She said people see that they need to vote differently for different results.
“We are within striking distance, and we are going to win,” she said, citing polling by Democrats and an outside group that show a race that could be more competitive than typical.
Pillen, after a Rotary lunch in Omaha this week, said his race was going well. He’s not doing debates, but he’s campaigning in small groups statewide, much like he did during the primary.
“We feel really, really good that we brought people together across the state,” he said. “The people of Nebraska have been real gracious and are excited about the future.”
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