Nebraska’s winner-take-office GOP primary for state treasurer might always have come down to this: Would Omaha financial planner Taylor Royal’s family donate enough money to give his campaign a fighting chance against State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, the choice of Nebraska’s establishment Republicans?
Royal’s family did donate a significant sum during the last fundraising cycle, this week’s batch of state financial disclosure reports show. His father gave twice, for a total of $32,000. Royal’s campaign appears to have spent some of those funds on expanding a statewide radio advertising buy.
The family might give more, though it’s getting late and increasingly costly to secure advertising time. But their support thus far has not approached the $240,000 they gave Royal, 28, during his unsuccessful, but eye-catching, 2017 Republican primary loss to Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. This time, his camp says, they have given their time, walked door-to-door and made calls.
Sam Fischer, Royal’s campaign manager, said that voters pay attention at the end and that “we are confident that we will get our message out when it matters.”
Murante, too, got a boost from a political patron in the financial reporting period from April 11 to April 30. Gov. Pete Ricketts gave him $10,000. Experienced observers of Nebraska politics had wondered whether Ricketts might ride to Murante’s side if the Royal family ponied up.
Murante, 36, also received $1,000 from former State Treasurer Shane Osborn, adding to a list of current and former elected officials who have endorsed his campaign. Royal snagged support from his former opponent, Stothert.
Murante said in a statement that he was “humbled and honored” by the support he’s receiving.
Royal, this period, outraised Murante by nearly $10,000. But Murante, a second-term legislator, heads down the home stretch of the treasurer’s race with more than $93,000 in campaign cash on hand, documents show. Royal’s campaign lists $4,200 in cash on hand.
Murante reported spending about $127,000 on advertising this period, including production. Royal reported spending roughly what his family donated, $31,000.
In other fundraising for the May 15 primary election:
- In the Democratic primary for the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District race, Metropolitan Community College board member Kara Eastman outraised Brad Ashford, bringing in $34,000 to his $22,000. Ashford, a former congressman and state senator, maintained his advantage in cash on hand, showing $162,000 to her $71,000. The same was true in totals raised to date, with Ashford at $561,000 and Eastman at $356,000.
- Ricketts continued to out-raise his likely Democratic opponent, State Sen. Bob Krist. Ricketts received $42,000 in donations this period and showed $1.28 million in campaign cash on hand. Krist raised $15,000 and listed $16,000 on hand. Republican pro-marijuana candidate Krystal Gabel has not filed a campaign finance report with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. That means she has not raised or spent $5,000.
- U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., outpaced any of her Republican challengers for the Senate, as well as her likely Democratic opponent, Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould. Fischer raised $121,000 this period and has $2.55 million in cash on hand. Lincoln tech entrepreneur Todd Watson, Fischer’s most active primary opponent, had not filed his form with the Federal Election Commission to show what he raised. Retired math professor Jack Heidel raised $17,000 and showed nearly $13,000 cash on hand. Dennis Macek, a writer, raised $110 this period and listed $7,400 cash on hand. Retired telecommunications analyst Jeffrey Lynn Stein had not filed.
- In the Democratic Senate primary, Raybould raised $79,000 and listed $310,000 in cash on hand. Her most active opponent, Omaha baker Chris Janicek, had filed no paperwork with the FEC. His campaign said he was self-funding. Former Keith County Attorney Frank Svoboda gave his own campaign $16,000, on top of about $34,000 in loans. Perennial candidate Larry Marvin of Fremont reported raising nothing but showed $8,800 in cash on hand, mainly from loaning his campaign $50,000.