A Super PAC launched by allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spent upwards of $100,000 on an all-out campaign to sink Nebraska Republican Senate candidate Ben Sasse, after the grassroots favorite surged to the front of the race against opponents Shane Osborn and Sid Dinsdale.
FEC filings show The Freedom Pioneers Action Network recently launched a $103,526 independent expenditure against Sasse, the only candidate the group has spent money for or against in the 2014 cycle. The group’s website contains only one attack ad, against “liberal Ben Sasse,” “the Obamacare supporter.”
Itemized receipts to the Freedom Pioneers Action Network show four donors have contributed to its funds this election cycle; three have also donated to Shane Osborn.
The founders of Freedom Pioneers Action Network, Jeremy Hughes and Justin Brasell, are also involved with a Super PAC backing Sen. McConnell’s reelection bid; Brasell ran McConnell’s 2008 reelection campaign but has since worked with others in the Senate, as he ran Sen. John Thune’s 2010 reelection campaign.
McConnell has feuded with Sasse, ripping into the candidate at a private meeting over his association with the Senate Conservatives Fund, which backed Sasse.
Sasse, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, has made the fight against Obamacare the cornerstone of his campaign. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Sen. Mike Lee, and Sen. Ted Cruz have all campaigned in Nebraska for Sasse, while lobbyists connected to the health care industry and the GOP Establishment have worked against him.
The group is attacking Sasse by alleging he supports the Obamacare law he has vowed to help overturn.
The anti-Sasse efforts serve to benefit two candidates: Osborn, the former frontrunner who has support from the Republican establishment, and Sid Dinsdale, a moderate businessman candidate with ties to Planned Parenthood and the support of pro-amnesty Nebraska businessman Michael Simmonds.
Osborn, once a decisive frontrunner, currently faces a six-point deficit against Sasse (31% to 25%) according to a poll published this week. While Osborn’s support among D.C.’s Republican establishment elite aided him early in the race, he faced a major setback when it was revealed he used his connections to generate an “official”-looking memorandum from the U.S. Navy praising his military exploits. The memo, which the Department of Defense could not verify, claimed Osborn performed well during an operation in China in which he crash-landed a plane that had been shot onto Chinese territory.
Dinsdale, who stands at a respectable 22%, has drawn the ire of Erick Erickson at RedState when it was revealed that his sister is on the board of Planned Parenthood in Nebraska. Dinsdale’s bank’s PAC donated to former Democrat Senator Ben Nelson — after Nelson cast the deciding vote to push Obamacare into law.
Allison Moore, a spokesperson for Sen. McConnell’s campaign, told Breitbart News that the Senator had no involvement in the campaign: “Sen. McConnell has not endorsed in Nebraska’s Senate race and has absolutely no association with efforts on behalf of any candidates in the race.” The Freedom Pioneers Action Network did not respond to requests for comment.