In an election cycle in which progressive media tried to demonize the Tea Party and paint Republicans as hostile toward woman, Nebraska Senator-elect Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) will be important in Washington as a reform-minded Tea Party senator who also happens to be female.
Fischer defeated former Nebraska Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey, who had lived in New York for decades and attempted to carpetbag the state, with 58% of the vote to Kerrey’s 41.8%.
Kerrey did not expect to run against Fischer, and Nebraska political insiders said the Kerrey campaign was caught flat-footed against her, spending weeks trying to figure out a strategy to run against her.
“His campaign left the impression that they really didn’t know how to campaign against her… for a couple of months,” a Nebraska political scientist said.
Fischer will give Democrats in Washington similar problems.
Nebraska’s newspapers noted Fischer’s win was historic on several fronts: “gender, geography and raw politics.”
Fischer is the first Nebraska woman elected to a full term in Senate, the first “small-town Nebraskan to win a Senate seat in decades,” (all recent senators lived in either Lincoln or Omaha), and her election means Democrats in Nebraska do not hold a single statewide office (Fischer is replacing outgoing Democrat Ben Nelson).
Kerrey had lived in New York for the last decade. He was president of New York’s New School, and his wife publicly trashed Nebraskans and gave interviews that may have purposely tried to undercut his candidacy, such as when she told Vogue magazine that Greenwich Village, where they had lived, was like “Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Nonetheless, Kerrey jumped into the Senate race at the last minute and gained his party’s nomination. Kerrey spent the whole campaign trying to bring down Fischer’s favorables, but it did not work. Nebraskans told pollsters they no longer considered Kerrey one of them, and many resented his “New York” values.
Fischer came out of nowhere to win the Republican primary over Attorney General John Bruning, the establishment-backed candidate, and State Treasurer Dan Stenberg, the candidate backed by the conservative establishment. Grassroots Nebraska volunteers and organizations like She-PAC kept Fischer in the game, but it was former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement that catapulted Fischer to the nomination.
Fischer’s campaign told Breitbart News then how significant and instrumental Palin’s endorsement was to her candidacy, and Fischer asked Palin to campaign on her behalf in Nebraska in the general election against Kerrey as well.
Fischer, in her victory speech, said she would go to Washington to “tackle the serious issues before us” because “these are serious times.”
Fischer said “Americans are an exceptional people” and “we have faced tough challenges before” and that “America’s brighter days are before us.”
“I will not let you down… I will serve you with honesty and integrity,” Fischer said. “We are going to build a better America.”
First, Fischer will go to Washington and help Republicans, along with other newly-elected Senators like Texas’s Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), build a more conservative — and inclusive — movement.