Photo: Deb Fischer Campaign
Earlier we told you about the upset in the making in Nebraska’s Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat. And now, that upset is complete.Deb Fischer’s impressive comeback is complete. The race was called shortly before midnight, with Fischer receiving about 40 per cent of the vote to Attorney General Jon Bruning’s 36 per cent. Don Stenberg, the Nebraska state treasurer, finished way behind at 19 per cent. Now, Fischer will take on former Sen. Bob Kerrey, the Democratic nomination, for the right to take over retiring Sen. Ben Nelson’s post.
This might be spun as a victory for the tea party — in fact, there was an unusual amount of tea party infighting in this race when compared with Richard Mourdock’s resounding victory over Dick Lugar last week in Indiana. Public Policy Polling pointed out that you shouldn’t buy the tea party spin — Bruning still captured most of the tea party vote in polls leading up to the election.
Nevertheless, Republicans already are showing signs that the tough primary didn’t do any lasting damage, and they are prepared to rally around Fischer.
What this election was really about was Fischer sneaking in after a gruelling, largely negative campaign between Bruning and Stenberg, not about Sarah Palin’s late endorsement and robocalls. This included a shouting match over Stenberg following Bruning’s 14-year-old daughter on Twitter.
Bruning got endorsements from tea party and evangelical conservative favourites Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who made a furious last-minute push Tuesday for Bruning. They were joined officially by the Tea Party Express, which was one of the tea party groups that helped organise support to propel the insurgent Mourdock to oust the 36-year Sen. Lugar in Indiana last week.
Just last week, Sal Russo, told Business Insider after Mourdock’s win that with Bruning, the tea party had another great shot in a week.
Meanwhile, Stenberg built up endorsements from tea party favourites Sens. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint (in the tweet above), as well as the tea party group Freedom Works.
And as the negative campaigning took its toll, that left enough room for Fischer, whose net favorability ratings jumped 45 points since March while Bruning suffered a 27-point net loss.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “It’s another lesson in the weird dynamics of 3 way races — and the incredible power of negative advertising.”
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