Robert Costa | Nebraska Senate: Can Down-to-Earth Deb Defeat Cosmic Bob?

Deb Fischer, a conservative state senator, shocked the political world on Tuesday by beating two better-financed opponents in Nebraska’s Republican Senate primary. She now faces Bob Kerrey, a former governor and senator, in the general election. In most statewide races, Fischer’s low profile would be a handicap, but in this particular contest, anonymity may be an asset.

“People are tired of the usual politicians,” Fischer tells National Review Online. “I am becoming better known, and I’ve put 45,000 miles on my car as I’ve traveled around the state. But I come from a citizen legislature, where it’s about public service, and people have really responded.”

A decade in the political wilderness has done little to boost Kerrey, whose quirky personality led detractors to dub him “Cosmic Bob” during the Clinton years. According to Public Policy Polling, a majority of Nebraskans view him unfavorably, and the Democrat’s post-Senate stint as an academic administrator at the uber-liberal New School in Manhattan has won him few plaudits.

Senator Mike Johanns, a former governor, urges Fischer to remind voters about Kerrey’s aversion to “mainstream Nebraska thinking.” On key issues, such as cap-and-trade legislation, Obamacare, traditional marriage, and abortion, “he’s way out there,” Johanns says.



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