Tea partyer Maxwell: Big bucks needed to win, mum on who gives

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

While he won’t say who he’s asking for money, tea partyer Chip Maxwell tells Nebraska Watchdog that he needs to “get well into six figures” to win the Omaha House race.

Rep. Lee Terry

Maxwell officially kicks off his 3rd party bid this week with a trio of free pizza parties as he looks to raise money and ink signatures needed to put his name on the ballot in November—he needs 2,000 valid signatures by September.

Tea partyer Chip Maxwell needs 2,000 valid signatures by September to get his name on the November ballot

Maxwell and Democrat Brad Ashford are trying to unseat 8-term GOP Congressman Lee Terry, who, according to an Ashford poll, is ripe for defeat.

Although most 3rd party campaigns in Nebraska are shoe-string efforts going nowhere from day one, in an interview with Nebraska Watchdog, Maxwell admits he needs to raise money, big money—adding some potential givers are worried about the spotlight.

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford

Nebraska Watchdog: How much do you think you need to raise in this campaign in order to get your message out and be successful?

Chip Maxwell: I’m not going to put a number on it, Joe. All I’m going to say right now is that I need to get well into six figures.

Nebraska Watchdog: Given the fact there is an incumbent Republican and a Democratic challenger, where do you raise that kind of money?

Chip Maxwell: There are people out there right now who are not regular insiders who watch things unfold and have decided, “I’m not going along with the flow anymore.” I’m not going to throw any names around right now because it is a very tricky situation. Unfortunately human nature being what it is there are people who are very nervous about being out on the record against the incumbent.

Terry is coming off a lackluster primary where he defeated little-known Dan Frei 53-47, despite outspending Frei 20-1.

Many Terry backers are complaining that Maxwell is nothing more than a spoiler, siphoning conservative votes from Terry and paving the way for an Ashford win. But Maxwell disputes that claim, insisting he can win with a combination of conservative, anti-Terry, Republicans and moderate, anti-Ashford, Democrats.

But the first step is his petition drive. And Maxwell tells Nebraska Watchdog that while he’s optimistic he’ll get the names he needs, he’s run into at least one bump.

Nebraska Watchdog: You mentioned some people don’t want to be on the record. Are you having trouble getting people to sign your petition because they don’t want their name public?

Chip Maxwell: Yes, I’ve had a few people who said, “Wait a minute aren’t these public record? Uh, I wish you well but no thanks I don’t want to sign.” Yes, that does scare some people away. I’m still confident we can get the 2,000 signatures but there are people who are a little nervous about being out on the public record, at least at this stage of the game.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org.

Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday at 7:40 a.m. and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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