Fischer easily wins election to U.S. Senate
November 6th, 2012
Omaha, NE – Republican Deb Fischer will be Nebraska’s next U.S. Senator after defeating former Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey in Tuesday’s election.
It was shortly after 10 p.m. when Fischer strode to the lectern in Lincoln’s Cornhusker Hotel to claim victory.
“Wow,” Fischer said. “Thank you, Nebraska. We did it!”
Fischer, a state senator from Valentine, led Kerrey all night long. Her lead was four percent in the early returns, and it increased to a 58-42 percent margin as the evening wore on. As she claimed victory, Fischer and her supporters were gracious to Kerrey, who had waged an aggressive campaign against her.
“I recently received a call from Bob Kerrey,” Fischer said. “He offered me congratulations, and I thank him.”
“I thank Mr. Kerrey for his service to our country. I thank Mr. Kerrey for his service to our state. And I wish Mr. Kerrey and his family well. Thank you Mr. Kerrey,” she said.
Meanwhile in Omaha, Kerrey was introduced to give his concession speech by his 11-year old son Henry, who told his dad it was “okay that he lost” and said he could always try again. “When you’re playing a video game, it’s not like you just die automatically; you have at least three lives,” he said to laughter.
Kerrey, who campaigned on a pledge to be bipartisan, said the effort had been worthwhile. “We did sound the alarm about a hyper-partisan, dysfunctional Congress, and we offered specific proposals that would make our democracy more just and more likely to produce ways to resolve rather than create conflict,” he said.
“We earned the support of Republican leaders like Chuck Hagel who are equally alarmed and appalled by what they are seeing and what they see happening in our Capitol,” Kerrey added.
For her part, Fischer called for a return to basics. “The prosperity and the security of our nation must be based on a return to first principles,” Fischer said, “principles that are deeply held by all Nebraskans: liberty, freedom, justice, but also personal responsibility, hard work and community.”
Erin Fogerty, who worked on Kerrey’s previous campaigns for Senate and for President in 1992, said this campaign had struggled to overcome criticism that he was returning to Nebraska from New York, where he had been a university president, only to run for Senate. “I am surprised at the number of Nebraskans who believe that if you go away to have experiences outside of the state that somehow that prevents you from coming home and being a part of public service,” Fogerty said.
When Fischer takes over from retiring Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in January, it will mark the first time since Jim Exon became governor 42 years ago that no Democrat will hold statewide office in Nebraska. Governor Dave Heineman, a longtime Republican stalwart, was asked what’s changed. “To me, the real difference, and I’ve said this for years, we believe in competitive Primaries,” Heineman said. “Senator Fischer, Senator Johanns, myself, all three Congressmen, we’ve gone through competitive Primaries, that really hasn’t occurred in the Democratic Party. I think that’s hurting them.”
As she closed out her victory speech, Fischer grew emotional. “I thank each of you for giving me your generous support,” she said. “I thank each of you for placing your trust in me. I will not let you down. I will work hard. I will serve you with honesty and integrity.”
“You know what?” she concluded. “We’re going to build a better America. Thank you.”
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