The NE GOP, astroturf Americans for Prosperity (funded by the infamous Koch brothers), and national far-right talking heads have been hyping up the demise of Nelson’s career. They claim his vote for health care reform will be his downfall.

This quarter’s new fundraising numbers tell a different story. It’s clear that Sen. Ben Nelson is winning the fundraising race by a landslide. The only GOP candidate who’s close to Nelson is “Wrong Way” Jon Bruning.

Nelson has more than twice as much cash on hand as Bruning. Nelson also out-raised Bruning in the last quarter 2-to-1. Both the National Journal and Nebraska Watchdog have noticed Nelson outstripping Bruning in the fundraising race.

So why does this matter to a bunch of grassroots progressives and moderates like us? Primarily, it shows that there’s much more enthusiasm for an independent candidate like Ben Nelson than a recklessly ambitious challenger like “Wrong Way” Jon.

You know the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the old guy’s yelling, “I’m not dead!”, and Eric Idle knocks him out and tosses him on the cart of dead bodies? That’s what conservative politicos like to think will happen with Nelson–that his career is on death’s door, and one swift blow will take him out.

We see it differently. Maybe it’s because the final Harry Potter movie came out, but we think the last couple months Nelson has been like Harry (spoiler alert) appearing to be dead in Hagrid’s arms. But just when Voldemort thinks he’s totally won over the wizarding world, Harry springs back to life and takes him out, once and for all.

Nelson may not have a wand or wicked awesome lightening scar, but he’s got the tenacity and resources to see the job through. Don’t count him out, or you’ll end up looking more foolish than a Death Eater.