Jon Bruning, Pete Ricketts bring gubernatorial campaigns to your TVs -
Published Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:00 am / Updated at 2:20 am
Jon Bruning, Pete Ricketts bring gubernatorial campaigns to your TVs

Batten down your televisions!

The political ad blitz has begun, with two front-runners in the Nebraska governor's race going on the air with major television buys.

Attorney General Jon Bruning went first, launching an advertisement Wednesday in which he portrays himself as the candidate who has fought and “won” against President Barack Obama.

Bruning led a coalition of 26 states that unsuccessfully sought to have the Democratic president's signature health care law overturned in court.

Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts also hit the airwaves Wednesday.

Ricketts barely makes an appearance in his first television ad. Instead, a series of supporters are shown touting Ricketts' conservative credentials, including former Republican Gov. Kay Orr and former Douglas County Election Commissioner Pat McPherson.

Bruning is spending $126,000 on his statewide ad buy, which runs until March 4.

Ricketts is spending $95,000. It will run on cable television from now until March 9, and on broadcast channels until March 3.

Both Bruning and Ricketts are considered the front-runners in a six-way race for the Republican nomination for governor, partly because both men are expected to have the money needed to run television ads.

The other four candidates in the race are Omaha tax attorney Bryan Slone, State Auditor Mike Foley, State Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha and State Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege.

Slone has previously been on the air with a small television ad purchase, and McCoy has spent money on radio ads.

The primary is May 13.

In his ad, Bruning is shown talking straight into the camera, in a blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves. He talks about his willingness to fight the Obama administration while a photo of Bruning at a meeting with Obama flashes on the screen.

“I’ve fought the Obama administration, and I’ve won” Bruning says. “As governor, that’s what I’ll do.”
However, the ad does not make it clear exactly what Bruning has “won.”

Bruning did lead a coalition with Nebraska and 25 other states that fought the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. They lost, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the law was constitutional. However, the high court did toss out one provision of the law that would have required states to expand their Medicaid coverage.

Jordan McGrain, Bruning’s campaign manager, said the ad referred to overturning the Medicaid mandate. He said the ad did not go into the details because of time constraints.
“We’ve got 30 seconds, and 30 seconds go by quick,” said McGrain.

Ricketts’ ad is a fast-paced product, in which numerous people talk into the camera. His message seems to be that there are a lot of people in Nebraska who support Ricketts, with several of them saying he is “pro life,” “pro gun” and a “real conservative.”

Ricketts does not appear until the end, when he is shown with his family.
In all, about 20 people appear in the ad, including State Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft and State Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial.

Contact the writer: Robynn Tysver    |   402-444-1309    |  

Robynn is's elections writer. She's covered presidential politics in Iowa's caucuses, and gubernatorial and Senate races in Nebraska.

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