The flow of secret dollars into the Nebraska governor’s race grew rapidly this week as two nonprofit groups began pummeling Republican Jon Bruning on the airwaves for, among other things, accepting a pay raise that was beyond his control.

Members of Bruning’s camp called the ads “cowardly” and said they were convinced that either Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts — one of Bruning’s opponents — or his “wealthy friends” were behind the ads, although they did not have any direct proof.

“I don’t think Nebraska is going to tolerate this kind of stuff, groups funded in secret by Ricketts and his billionaire friends,” said Jordan McGrain, Bruning’s campaign manager.

Ricketts’ camp denied any involvement.

“Neither Pete nor the campaign have anything to do with ads targeting Jon Bruning,” said Matt Miltenberger, Ricketts’ campaign manager. “This is a political ploy by Jon Bruning…

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