Kerrey concedes to Fischer in Nebraska U.S. Senate race

Story by Christina Condreay with help from Michael Sholes and Emily Younger | NewsNetNebraska

Bob Kerrey has conceded the hotly contested U.S. Senate race to Deb Fischer, and a victorious Fischer took the stage at The Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln to thank supporters.

“We did it,” she said.

Kerrey told supporters at the La Vista Embassy Suites that he wished Fischer well.

“I’m grateful to all of you for your confidence and enthusiasm. I know that losing is not easy, it’s never easy,” Kerrey said.

For the latest updates on Nebraska’s Senate race, see this Secretary of State election results page.

Fischer, a rancher and Nebraska state senator, won a close primary race against former Attorney Generals Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg. While her victory was a surprise to many, Fischer has worked to earn name recognition from voters. She has campaigned on promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act, support a balanced budget amendment and oppose tax increases.

A former governor and U.S. senator, Kerrey left Nebraska politics in 2001. For the last 10 years he has served as the president of The New School in New York City to run for the Democratic nomination. His campaign has focused on bipartisanship, deficit reduction and entitlement reform.

Deb Fischer remained ahead of Bob Kerrey as more U.S. Senate returns poured in. With 30 percent of precincts reporting according to the Nebraska Secretary of State, Fischer has a 10 point lead. Fischer and Kerrey are neck-and-neck in early returns from Douglas County, while Kerrey holds onto a 10 point lead in Lancaster County.

The Republican candidate has consistently polled higher than her Democratic challenger, with the most recent Omaha World-Herald poll showing a three point lead.


National Implications

This race for Sen. Ben Nelson’s seat is notably different than previous senatorial campaigns. With a nation closely divided, this race has national implications.

According to political experts, the race began in late 2009 when Nelson, a Democrat, cast a vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act in return for federal assistance with Nebraska Medicaid. The Republican party seized on the vote calling it the “Cornhusker Kickbacks.” Some speculated that Nelson’s vote sparked his decision to leave the Senate.

Nelson is considered one of the most conservative democratic senators, and his empty seat is highly coveted by both parties. By all counts, the majority in the Senate will be a small one. Both parties are vying heavily for the Nebraska seat. After Nelson decided to step down, the Republicans saw the chance to earn another seat and work to majority control.

With Nebraska’s five electoral votes, a strong Republican presidential voting record and a lack of seniority and power in Congress, Nebraska politics rarely make a difference on a federal level. But with a Senate majority on the line, the country is watching this race.

Major endorsements from both parties came in until the waning days of the race. Kerrey earned support from former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and comedian Steve Martin, while Fischer received endorsements from Sen. John McCain, Gov. Dave Heineman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

See these related stories on the U.S. Senate race.



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