Minimum wagers top $1 million mark in campaign cash


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

With no organized opposition in its way, those out to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage have topped the $1 million mark in campaign cash: $1,217453 to be exact.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: Neal Erickson, Nebraska’s deputy secretary of state for elections, arranges boxes of petitions submitted after a $834,000 campaign earlier this year. Opponents are outgunned in Nebraska.

Nearly half of that from one man, Omaha’s left-leaning philanthropist Dick Holland—who put in another $200,000 this summer—has contributed a total of $600,000.

Two teacher unions have also kicked-in some big bucks.

The National Education Association in Washington D.C. made a $100,000 contribution on Sept. 29.

The Nebraska State Education Association has contributed $75,000.

Nebraskans for Better Wages, which is asking voters in November to up the current $7.25 an hour minimum wage to $9 in 2016, have spent nearly $50,000 on statewide radio and TV ads in the last few weeks alone.

Campaign consultant State Sen. Danielle C0nrad was paid $50,000 in late September.

All this without any well-heeled opposition.

As Nebraska Watchdog reported earlier this year one political insider said it would be tough to raise enough money to persuade people they shouldn’t vote themselves a pay raise.

“Would you vote against giving yourself a raise in pay?” he said.

He estimated it would take $700,000 to $1 million to mount an effective statewide campaign, assuming the other side continued spending money at the same rate.

Some on the right worry a major opposition effort would only create a battle that would energize and bring out more supporters of the wage hike.

“Conservatives don’t really want to create a battleground on this issue and excite liberals to go out and vote,” he said.

However in Omaha, as Nebraska Watchdog just reported, Democrats are enjoying a 3-1 advantage in early votes and some are crediting the minimum wagers for that push.

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