April 18, 2014

Republicans back Fischer, dismiss Hagel endorsement of Kerrey (AUDIO)

Sen. Mike Johanns makes a point during a news conference as Gov. Dave Heineman and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer look on.

Nebraska Republicans today stood behind Republican United States Senate candidate Deb Fischer, brushing off the endorsement fellow Republican Chuck Hagel has given Democrat Bob Kerrey.

Fischer, during a news conference at the Nebraska Republican Party headquarters in Lincoln, claimed that the endorsement from the former U.S. Senator didn’t surprise her.

“I thank Sen. Hagel for his service to our country. He served in the military. He served as a United States Senator and I thank him for his service,” Fischer stated. “But, he has also been working with the Obama Administration, so I’m really not surprised by his endorsement of Mr. Kerrey.”

The Kerrey campaign called the endorsement of Hagel a major announcement in the waning days of the general election. Hagel served two terms in the United States Senate, the first of which overlapped Kerrey’s tenure in Washington.

Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, insisted the endorsement from Hagel will not tip the scales in the Senate race in favor of Kerrey. Heineman pointed out that Fischer has the backing of every elective Republican in the Congressional delegation as well as his vote.

“Now, let’s contrast that with Sen. Kerrey,” Heineman said. “He’s got (former Sen.) Alan Simpson of Wyoming’s vote. He can’t vote in Nebraska. (Former Sen. Warren) Rudman of New Hampshire; he can’t vote here. (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid of Nevada, he’s going to try, but it won’t work. And Chuck Hagel hasn’t been registered to vote in Nebraska for the last couple of years.”

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican, said Fischer has run a strong campaign and will reflect Nebraska values if elected on Tuesday.

“Now, in these closing days I have watched Bob Kerrey run an offensively negative campaign while Deb Fischer, appropriately defend herself, has tried to remain positive with a vision that’s going to help turn this country around,” according to Fortenberry.

Fortenberry referred to Kerrey’s advertisement campaign that criticizes Fischer for her land dispute with a neighbor settled in 1997.

Sen. Mike Johanns, the Republican who succeeded Hagel in the Senate, said Hagel’s endorsement of Kerrey doesn’t surprise him.

“Chuck has really moved on. He is close to Joe Biden and Barack Obama, even to the extent where they have rewarded his loyalty with positions in the administration,” Johanns said. “Chuck has been very clear about the fact that he would love to be in the Obama Administration. I think Chuck would love to think that he’s on the list to be secretary of something.”

Johanns claimed that the Hagel endorsement will have no effect on the race.

AUDIO: GOP Senate candidate Deb Fischer and other Repubilcans react to Hagel endorsement of Kerrey. [8:40]