Nebraska candidate Lakers touts fundraising

Nebraska candidate Lakers touts fundraising

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- Nebraska Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Lakers announced Wednesday he raised $314,000 in one week in his quest to unseat Republican Gov. Dave Heineman.

An investment banker who lives in Omaha suburb Elkhorn, Lakers noted he's still at a disadvantage to Heineman, who has a campaign fund of $2 million. But Lakers said he was gratified supporters responded favorably to his quest to raise $300,000 in one week.

However, Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Mark Fahleson said much of the Lakers money was in the form of pledges.

"His filing is a sham," Fahleson said. "After reviewing the campaign filing, it's obvious he graduated from the Bernie Madoff school of campaign finance."

Fahleson said a quarter million is in pledges, only $46,400 was in cash.

Lakers is a 1977 graduate of Harlan (Iowa) High School. He said he is running because Heineman hasn't done well in leading Nebraska, citing insufficient job creation, in spite of federal stimulus funding.

Lakers said he opposes Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning filing a lawsuit challenging the federal health care reform overhaul signed into law in late March. Bruning, a Republican, is among several attorneys general who believe the requirement that Americans must buy health care insurance is unconstitutional.

Lakers said that logic is misguided, that the Commerce Clause shows the government has a right to require people to have insurance. He predicted millions of dollars will be wasted in a futile legal battle.

Lakers acknowledged some Nebraskans are upset with the new health reform, but said it isn't a bad year to be a Democrat running for office. He noted Nebraskans have elected former Democratic businessmen as governor -- Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey and Ben Nelson.

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