Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
OMAHA—When Mayor Jim Suttle suffered a mild stroke in Ireland last year and was flown home in an air ambulance the plane ride cost $75,000.
That’s just one of several figures flying through the race for the city’s top job as all five major candidates put their fund raising numbers on the table.
Suttle led the 2012 cash grab but starts the final push for this spring’s re-election with less money on hand than some of his rivals.
Democrat Suttle has $200,000 in the bank; Republican City Councilwoman Jean Stothert $240,000; former City Council President Dan Welch, a Republican, $230,000.
It’s not clear how much Republican Dave Nabity and Brad Ashford, who is running as an independent, have left in their war chests but both feel they’ve raised enough to fight.
Last year Suttle’s campaign—which had $94,000 in the bank from 2011—raised $350,000, bringing the two year total to nearly $445,000.
Welch’s campaign says he raised $270,000 last year; add in $12,000 from his council account and he topped out at $282,000.
Nabity says he raised over $250,000 in 2012
Stothert raised $230,000 in 2012; add in $100,000 from her council fund and she hit $330,000.
Despite the backing of one of the city’s key Democrats, Ashford is running last in the money race.
The state senator from Omaha, who has been touting the support of former Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey, tells Nebraska Watchdog he’s raised about $170,000.
On the spending side Stothert and Welch, who launched their campaigns within days of each other, are sparring over who is better with the buck.
Stothert shelled out $90,000 last year compared to Welch’s $52,000.
“Welch has run a leaner campaign,” said campaign manager Chris Peterson.
But Stothert’s campaign manager, Ryan Horn, tells Nebraska Watchdog that it looks like Welch “is running less of a campaign.”
According to Horn, Team Stothert spent early so they won’t have to struggle at the end.
Suttle’s campaign went through $244,000 last year which is where the $75,000 air ambulance flight comes in.
According to Suttle’s campaign manager Gary DiSilvestro, initially the campaign paid for the flight but was personally reimbursed by the mayor. The flight was not covered by insurance, said DiSilvestro.
The campaigns are required to file detailed financial reports with the state no later than January 31.
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