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Endorsements emphasized in Neb. US Senate race

Associated Press Modified: November 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm •  Published: November 5, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — In one of her final campaign events before the election, GOP Senate candidate Deb Fischer was flanked Monday by Dave Heineman, the popular Republican governor who has repeatedly assured voters in the last week they can trust the rancher and two-term legislator.

Fischer's campaign has been based on her solid conservative credentials and support for erasing the federal deficit solely with spending cuts. But as Tuesday's election has neared and polls have shown a tighter race with Democrat Bob Kerrey, Fischer, 61, has relied more on support by Heineman, Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns and the state's three GOP congressmen.

The outcome of the Senate race could have national repercussions as Republicans hope to take control of the Senate, though national polls have left Democrats optimistic they'll retain the majority. Nebraska voters also will decide Tuesday whether to re-elect the state's three Republican congressmen and will consider four ballot measures.

Fischer campaign manager Aaron Trost said it's clear why she turned to Heineman, who was resoundingly re-elected in 2010. Recent polling by the Omaha World-Herald has shown that only 16 percent of Nebraska residents disapprove of his performance.

"Those are Nebraska leaders that are very well thought-of, and campaigning with them appeals to Republicans, Democrats and independents," Trost said.

For the past week, Fischer campaigned in five cities with Heineman, Johanns and at least one member of Nebraska's U.S. House delegation by her side. The last event on her final, full day of campaigning was scheduled in Omaha on Monday.

Heineman played down his role Monday as one of Fischer's chief advocates.

"The most important endorsement is that of Nebraska citizens," Heineman said during a conference call with reporters.

But Kerrey, 69, a former governor and two-term senator who returned to Nebraska to run again for U.S. Senate, has a few Republican endorsements up his sleeve.

Last week, Kerrey held a news conference with former Nebraska U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican. Hagel praised his former colleague, saying the nation needed his bipartisan approach. Kerrey also has been backed by former GOP Sens. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, as well as Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

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