The race in Nebraska just heated up as Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer came from behind last night to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Attorney General Jon Bruning. In retrospect, Fischer’s win is understandable, although still surprising. Until last week, Bruning still had a double-digit polling lead.
So how did Fischer pull it off? She maintained a positive campaign throughout, while Jon Bruning traded constant barbs with state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Outside groups like the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservative Fund with Jim DeMint also assisted Fischer by running attack ads in an attempt to support Stenberg. Over the weekend, there was also a $200,000 television ad campaign funded by Joe Ricketts that put into question Bruning’s financial interests and his character.
And that, perhaps, was the nail in the coffin. In addition, Fischer got herself endorsed by Sarah and Todd Palin and by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.
Certainly, Fischer’s come-from-behind win will make front-runners in other races pause and take a look at their own campaigns and practices. Fischer will now be going to the general election as a favorite over former Sen. Bob Kerrey. Nebraska is definitely a state to watch at the moment, as a Republican win will help towards the four pickups they need to gain control of the Senate again this fall.
Democrats, turning the tables, argue that the Fischer win is in their favor; now, they say, they’ll have a better chance at holding the seat since she is a relative unknown. However, public polling taken before the primary showed that Fischer would defeat Kerrey by double digits. Perhaps it’s time for shoe-in politicians and democrats to stand up and take note.