Both Republicans and Democrats hope a smear campaign can sway Nebraska voters as they choose a new United States Senator this November.
Call it Welfare Rancher vs. Carpetbagger.
Republican United States Senate candidate Deb Fischer rejects the attempt by the Nebraska Democratic Party to label her as a Welfare Rancher, because her family rents 12,000 acres of federal grazing land at a subsidized rate. Democrats contend Fischer’s operation has gotten lease breaks worth $3 million over the years. She says that doesn’t equate to welfare.
“We receive a bill from the federal government and we write a check to pay the lease,” Fischer responds when asked by Nebraska Radio Network. “We haven’t received money from the federal grazing (program).”
Fischer insists there is a reason the federal government rents the land at a subsidized rate.
“There’s a reason that this land was never homesteaded, that it was never in private hands,” according to Fischer.
We asked Democrat Bob Kerrey if he believes Fischer is a Welfare Rancher.
“I think that’s a little bit of stretch, I would say, but I’m not a Carpetbagger either,” Kerrey responds.
Nebraska Republicans have called Kerrey a Carpetbagger ever since he decided to return to Nebraska from New York to campaign for the United States Senate seat he once held. Kerrey left the state ten years ago to become president of the New School. Kerrey contends he never really left the state, maintaining businesses in Nebraska and strong ties to the state.
Kerrey proposes a bit of a truce.
“I’m certainly willing to say to her, ‘If you’re willing to say I’m not a carpetbagger, I’m willing to say you’re not a Welfare Rancher,’” Kerrey says. “Because there is no question she’s getting subsidies in her operation.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]