Ben Sasse is on the map.
The Republican from Fremont, Neb., raised $800,000 in the first eight weeks of his U.S. Senate campaign.
The cash count is an impressive number by any measure, but especially from a political newcomer who is relatively unknown to many Nebraskans and who is making his first bid for statewide office.
In comparison, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey raised $900,000 in the first weeks of his high-profile — although unsuccessful — comeback bid for the U.S. Senate last year.
Sasse, 41, is president of Midland University in Nebraska and one of four Republicans seeking to succeed U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, who announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
The three other Republicans include Omaha attorney Bart McLeay, former State Treasurer Shane Osborn and Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale. They have yet to release their third-quarter financial reports, which are not due to the Federal Election Commission until Oct. 15. The reports cover money raised in July, August and September.
So far, no Democrat has announced.
Sasse is not entirely new to politics. He worked as a top adviser in former President George Bush's Health and Human Services Department.
He has staked out health care as a key issue.
He is a vocal opponent of President Obama's health care law. Before running, he traveled nationwide, giving speeches that advocated a free-market approach to reforming health care.
Sasse, who became one of the youngest university presidents in 2009 at the age of 37, has degrees from Harvard and Yale.
“I think one thing Nebraskans will come to know about Ben is that Ben has a Nebraska work ethic,” said Tyler Grassmeyer, Sasse's campaign manager. “He is up emailing people by 4:30 a.m. and he's working the phones all the time.”
Grassmeyer said all donations came from individuals, with no money coming from political action committees.
Grassmeyer released the financial numbers early, even as the campaign continued to raise money on Monday — the last day of the reporting period.
Sasse's full financial report was not available Monday because it was still being compiled, Grassmeyer said.
He said the report will show that about half of the money came from Nebraska donors.
The report also will show that some of the money Sasse raised cannot be used in the primary election battle for the GOP nomination. Exactly how much is specifically earmarked for the primary was unknown Monday, Grassmeyer said.
Federal laws allow candidates to raise a maximum of $5,200 from an individual in a campaign cycle. Only $2,600 can be used in the primary election; the other $2,600 must be earmarked for the general election.