Deb Fischer clinches Nebraska Senate nomination in surprise upset

State Sen. Deb Fischer won the Republican nomination in Nebraska's Senate race Tuesday, upsetting odds-on favorite Jon Bruning in a surprise upset.

Fischer narrowly edged out the state Attorney General 40 to 36 percent with 71 percent of precincts reporting. State Treasurer Don Stenberg received 19 percent and three additional candidates divided the remainder of Tuesday's vote.

The race had long been regarded as a two-man fight between Bruning and Stenberg-- the party's 2006 nominee. But after months of infighting between Bruning and Stenberg, a Fischer surge occurred last wee and the race's outcome was thrown into doubt.

Fischer last week announced endorsements from Sarah and Todd Palin as well as Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, and receiving support from AmeriTrade co-founder Joe Ricketts, causing national observers as well as her competitors to take notice. Bruning's campaign ran an ad attacking both Stenberg and Fischer.

Fischer is now set to face former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, who easily won his party's nomination Tuesday against token opposition for the seat currently held by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. Republicans had viewed the race as one of their strongest pickup opportunities with Bruning as the nominee. Polls also showed Fischer leading Kerrey in hypothetical general election matchups.

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