Sen. Ben Nelson contends negative advertising was the real winner in the Republican United States Senate primary. The woman who won disagrees.
Nelson, the incumbent Democrat who is retiring from the seat, charged during a conference call with reporters that Republican Deb Fischer’s campaign was fueled by special-interest money which was aimed at the front-runner, Attorney General Jon Bruning.
“Deb Fischer may have gotten the votes, but ‘Anybody but Bruning’ won,” according to Nelson.
Nelson says that well-funded special interest groups saturated radio and television with attack ads, ripping Bruning, considered by most the favorite in the contest. Nelson says the third-party campaign sought to promote any of the candidates other than Bruning and Fischer benefited.
The charge doesn’t sit well with Fischer.
“There’s a reason I think that Sen. Nelson isn’t running and it’s because he’s lost touch with the people in Nebraska,” Fischer responded when asked by Nebraska Radio Network. “I’m on my way across the state now and I’ll continue to campaign across this state, meeting Nebraskans. That’s who won this election for me, the voters in the state of Nebraska.”
Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Mark Fahleson told Nebraska Radio Network third-party advertising certainly played a role in the race.
“Not necessarily benefiting Deb Fischer, but certainly to go after Attorney General Bruning,” Fahleson said. “And certainly it entered at the end for Deb Fischer, but at the end of the day, we had three candidates, it was a competitive primary, all three got out there and worked their tails off and Deb Fischer is our nominee and we’re excited to have her.”
Fahleson called Nelson’s comments sour grapes.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: Sen. Ben Nelson analyzes the Republican primary for U.S. Senate [3:25]
AUDIO: Republican candidate for US Senate, Deb Fischer, reponds to Nelson charge [:35]