Back in January we took an early look at the Senate primary race heating up in Nebraska to replace Mike Johanns. Two of the candidates we discussed at the time were Ben Sasse and Shane Osborn, and the commenters here offered a lot of useful background and thoughts on both of them. The race continues to slowly move toward high gear, and this week the first television ads are going up.

Former Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn, who is running in a competitive GOP Senate primary, launched his first TV ad Monday.

With less than two months to go before the May 13 primary, Osborn is running a biographical ad that reaches back to an international incident he was involved in as a Naval aviator. It will be a two-week, $80,000 buy, according to an Osborn source, but Nebraska is a relatively cheap media market and Osborn’s advertising is expected to increase…

Osborn’s ad features his military service, specifically targeting his imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese. He melds that into a message highlighting the need for strong leaders who won’t fold, getting in a hit on Obamacare at the same time. It’s a particularly good time for such a message, given the current focus on foreign policy issues surrounding Ukraine.

At nearly the same time, the Legacy Foundation Action Fund dumped $325K into an ad for Ben Sasse, also going positive. It features Sasse’s commitment to fight Obamacare and cut spending, which ties in nicely to his fiscally conservative resume. He also touts an endorsement from Paul Ryan and a positive piece from National Review.

These are both good ads, not wasting ammo attacking the other primary candidates, but focusing on issues and resumes. That’s probably a good call in any event, because do you really want to come out of the gate going negative on a military hero? These two will also face Sid Dinsdale and Bart McLeay in the primary election. I have to admit, I’m a little bit jealous of Nebraska. (Okay.. I’m from New York. I’m a lot jealous.) Looks like they have some good examples of new blood to inject into the public debate. The videos follow. Let us know what you think.

First, the Osborn piece.

And the Sasse ad.