Nebraska state Senator Deb Fischer rocketed out of nowhere to win the GOP senate primary on Tuesday, sending shockwaves across the political world from Nebraska to Washington, D.C.
The Republican establishment spent nearly $3 million to support state attorney general Jon Bruning. The Washington conservative establishment spent nearly $3 million to prop up their candidate, Don Stenberg, who never got traction despite all of his endorsements. But it took just 135 words from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to propel Fischer to the head of the pack and give her the momentum, buzz, and name identification to capitalize on some of the groundwork she had diligently laid.
The message was clear: the conservative grassroots are fed up and candidates favored by both the Republican and the Washington conservative establishment are not safe.
Fisher received 41 percent of the vote to Bruning’s 36 percent and Stenberg’s 19 percent.
“I never planned to run for the United States Senate, and most of you are the reason why I jumped in,” Fischer said in her victory speech on Tuesday night. “I wasn’t happy with what was happening in Washington, and I don’t think anyone is.”
Until Palin endorsed Fischer by writing her a note, nobody thought Fischer had a chance of entering the general election to become Nebraska’s next Senator.
“As recently as a week ago, Deb Fischer was dismissed by the establishment. Why? Because she is not part of the good old boys’ permanent political class,” Palin wrote in a Facebook note. “The message from the people of Nebraska is simple and powerful: America is looking for real change in Washington, and commonsense conservatives like Deb Fischer represent that change.
“I applaud Moms like Deb Fischer who are bold enough to step up and run on a conservative platform to restore America and protect our children’s future,” Palin continued. “Congratulations to the people of Nebraska. As the Huskers’ fight song goes: ‘The eyes of the land, upon every hand, are looking at you. Fight on for victory!'”
Fischer was also helped when The Ending Spending Action Fund, an independent group focused on electing “common-sense fiscal conservatives who understand the need to fundamentally reform our government,” ran $200,000 worth of ads for Fischer last weekend.
Brian Baker, president of the Ending Spending Action Fund, told Breitbart News, “The lesson here is simple: the people are in charge and they are sick of business as usual.”
And She-PAC, the new conservative group that was recently formed to help elect more women to Congress, seeded the ground for Fischer. ShePAC was her first national endorsement, and the group made two ads on behalf of Fischer and also promoted the ads with social networking buys that were smartly micro-targeted toward conservative women in Nebraska.
Suzie Terrell, a co-chair of She-PAC, told Breitbart News that her organization “learned of the ranching mom from the Nebraska Sandhills” when she was at 2 percent in the polls. Terrell noted that Fischer’s “positive, issue-based grassroots campaign represented the exact type of conservative woman we helped to promote – and we are proud to have been her 1st national endorsement.”
“As the other candidates quarreled over trivial issues like who’s following whose teenage daughter on twitter, Deb focused on voters and the issues and won,” Terrell said. “We look forward to continuing to support Deb Fischer and the four other conservative women who will Stop Harry Reid in 2012.”
Fischer will now face Democrat Bob Kerrey, who won his party’s primary, in the general election. Kerrey had been Nebraska’s Senator before leaving the state to take on various ventures, such as being president of a liberal university in New York.
Fischer alluded to this in her victory speech when she said, “we don’t need the same type of person who supposedly is going to represent Nebraska.”
She said she would be a “different,” “tough” and “effective” Nebraskan who represents Nebraska in Congress.
Last week, Fischer’s campaign manager Aaron Trost told Breitbart News that because the could not match Bruning and Stenberg dollar for dollar, they laid a grassroots foundation, hoping they could surge in the final weeks of the campaign. Fischer was also helped by former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
Her final surge began, though, when Palin single-handedly leveled the playing field with her endorsement and proved her endorsement effectively wipes out the financial advantages and the endorsements other candidates have.
To be fair, had Fischer lost, the mainstream media and political establishment would have spun it as a defeat for Palin. And this is why a Fischer victory should be noted as more proof that Palin — and the Tea Party — have not faded, and their influence is only growing.
“You can’t quit yet,” Fischer told the audience at her victory party, noting that the general election starts on Wednesday.
Like Fischer, Palin and the Tea Party are just getting started.