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Dinsdale pours $1 million into his Senate campaign

By   /   May 4, 2014  /   No Comments

Updated 7:21 a.m. Monday
By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – Pinnacle Bankcorp President Sid Dinsdale has loaned his U.S. Senate campaign $1 million.

The Republican candidate loaned himself $75,000 in late March, and another $925,000 on April 1, according to his pre-primary election report to the Federal Election Commission.

The bank president is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the financial disclosure form he filed with the U.S. Senate, as all candidates are required to do. His family founded Pinnacle Bank, the third wealthiest bank in Nebraska.

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BIG BUCKS: Senate candidate Sid Dinsdale has loaned his campaign $1 million.

In October, his campaign manager, Beth Kramer, said Dinsdale would use “some” of his money to fund his campaign, but that he planned to raise most of his campaign cash. When asked to define “some,” given his considerable assets, Kramer told Nebraska Watchdog in January, “I’m not going to talk about strategy or what he is or is not willing to put in.”

“He needs to have investors in his campaign,” she said at the time.

But with his most recent loan to the campaign, he is putting in more of his own cash than donors. According to his latest FEC report, he’s raised $938,765. He has also been saying in a TV ad and elsewhere that he’s the only Senate candidate who’s raised over 80 percent of his campaign funds from Nebraskans — a claim that will be difficult to make now that his own money comprises more than half his total.

The Dinsdale camp said Sunday he’s proud to invest in his campaign and won’t seek the endorsements of D.C. special interest groups, which have spent $1.7 million supporting and opposing other candidates.

“Sid began his campaign seeking investors from Nebraska and is proud to have over 80 percent of his support, independent of his own funds, from Nebraskans,” said Dinsdale’s communications director, Michael Valentino. “Unfortunately, campaigns are expensive. In order to compete with third-party special interests in this primary, Sid also had to invest in his campaign. Sid will be accountable to Nebraskans, not Washington, D.C. special interests.”

In an Omaha World-Herald story published April 9 — eight days after he wrote a $925,000 check to his campaign — Dinsdale said he was reluctant to spend his own money because it ““Doesn’t feel right. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

“I think you have to talk to Nebraskans and get their support,” he told the state’s largest newspaper. His spokesman did not answer a question about whether Dinsdale had already written the $925,000 check when he was interviewed by the World-Herald.

Ben Sasse’s campaign now claims they’ve raised the most money from Nebraskans.

“We are proud to have raised the most support in Nebraska, have the most Nebraska donors, and the most significant Nebraska grassroots endorsement in the Farm Bureau,” said Tyler Grassmeyer, Sasse’s spokesman.

Recent polls indicate Dinsdale is running third in the field of four top-tier Republicans vying to win the May 13 primary election, but closing in fast on frontrunners Sasse and Shane Osborn. The winner faces Democrat David Domina in the November general election.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Deena Winter has been a journalist for over 20 years, writing stories for the Northwood Gleaner, Bismarck Tribune, Associated Press, Denver Post and Lincoln Journal Star before joining Watchdog.

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