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Peter Ricketts-Bob Krist mugs

Gov. Pete Ricketts (left) and state Sen. Bob Krist

Gov. Pete Ricketts enters the final month of this year's gubernatorial campaign with a dramatic funding advantage over Democratic nominee Bob Krist.

After reporting nearly $2.4 million in expenditures, the governor's campaign had $892,000 in cash on hand as of Oct. 2.

Krist has mailed a report to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission that will show he's raised nearly $300,000 in campaign funds since June and will enter the final stages of the campaign with $36,000 in cash on hand, according to Dan Parsons, his campaign communications spokesman.

Among filings in key legislative races were reports from Sen. Merv Riepe of Ralston and former Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha that demonstrate how expensive their hotly contested 12th District battle will be.

Riepe, who is strongly supported by Ricketts, reported $95,000 spent, with $92,000 in cash on hand.

Lathrop, who served in the Legislature for eight years until he was term-limited out of office, reported $165,000 in expenditures, with $50,000 in cash on hand.

Although the legislative race is nonpartisan, Riepe is a Republican and Lathrop a Democrat and the battle has strong partisan overtones. 

The 16th District contest between Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons and Ben Hansen of Blair served notice that it will rival the most-expensive legislative races in Omaha.

Hassebrook, the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former University of Nebraska regent, reported expenditures of $151,000, with $104,000 in cash on hand.

Hansen, a Republican, has spent $70,000, with $101,000 in cash on hand.

In the 32nd District, Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, the Legislature's only registered Libertarian, has spent $172,000, with $14,000 in cash on hand.

Her opponent, Tom Brandt of Plymouth, a Republican, reported expenditures of $64,000, with about $11,000 in cash on hand.

In Omaha, Sen. Theresa Thibodeau, a Republican who was appointed to the Legislature by Ricketts, reported $134,000 expended and nearly $79,000 in cash on hand. The governor has contributed $25,000 to her campaign. 

Her opponent, Machaela Cavanaugh, a Democrat, did not yet have her latest report posted online. Her father, John Cavanaugh, is a former Omaha congressman and state senator.  

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On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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