Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Last Call

There was some state primary news made yesterday in my old home state of Nebraska, where Tea Party candidate State Sen. Deb Fischer literally came out of nowhere to blindside AG Jon Bruning to take the GOP Senate primary race against Democrat Bob Kerrey.

Her late surge, perhaps unprecedented in modern-day Nebraska political history, upended a Senate race that appeared to be settled as recently as 10 days ago with the GOP prize within the grasp of Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.

Fischer suddenly gained momentum with late endorsements from 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Lincoln, then rode the momentum of a weekend TV ad blitz mounted by Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts and his political action committee.

The super PAC ads purchased by Ending Spending supported Fischer and roughed up Bruning with attacks on his character and ethical behavior as attorney general. Within days, his support collapsed and the race was scrambled.

In other words, Joe Ricketts just bought himself a senator on the cheap in the last week of the campaign.  Fischer raised less than 15% of Bruning's war chest, but she had Moose Lady on her side.  Thanks, Citizens UnitedBob Kerrey is already crying foul.
As for Kerrey, the former senator took his own jab at Fischer, noting that a super PAC funded by former Omaha businessman Joe Ricketts funneled money into her race, helping her over the finish line.

Kerrey decried the large amount of money pouring into campaigns and asked what Ricketts expected in return.

“When he calls on her, what's he going to get?" Kerrey asked. "Does he want lower taxes? Probably. Does he want less regulation? Probably. And when you put that kind of money up, the question's going to occur."

The main attack on Bob Kerrey is that he's been outside Nebraska too long.  But now, Fischer's neatly purchased primary bought with money and influence from outside the state goes a long way towards blunting that criticism completely.  We'll see how the race polls now, and if Kerrey has a chance.  I'll say he has more of one than against Bruning, but not by much.

Would be nice to keep the seat blue, however.

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