Another Republican is eager to oust U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson.
State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine jumped into the GOP primary battle Tuesday, beginning a statewide tour in Omaha.
She stressed the importance of work to strengthen the nation's economy, of balancing the federal budget and of revitalizing Nebraska's communities.
"Nebraskans are ready for leadership in Washington D.C. that is real and genuine rather than political posturing and soundbites," she said.
Fischer's entry sets the stage for a hard-fought nomination battle, as at least five Republican candidates tussle for the GOP nod and the right to take on Nelson, the state's top Democrat.
Nelson has said he is leaning toward a run, although he has made no final decision. However, he is raising money and has hired staff.
Republicans consider Nelson to be one of the nation's most vulnerable Democratic incumbents because of his controversial vote in favor of President Barack Obama's health care law.
Fischer had mulled a campaign for months. A rancher in western Nebraska, she has served eight years in the Nebraska Legislature and already has the backing of some old-guard Republicans, including former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr and former Nebraska U.S. Rep. John Y. McCollister.
McCollister was one of about 25 people at her announcement Tuesday at Anthony's Restaurant in Omaha.
“She believes firmly in what she believes,” McCollister said.
Fischer has been making all the moves in the past few weeks to mount a campaign. She has walked in several parades and is booked to walk in the Fourth of July parade in Seward, far from her north-central Nebraska legislative district.
Two questions for Fischer are whether she can raise money and whether she can raise her name recognition to challenge the race's other major GOP candidates: Attorney General Jon Bruning and State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
Bruning already has a war chest of about $1 million, while Stenberg is a known name for many Republicans after about a half-dozen statewide races.
Two other GOP candidates making bids for the nomination are Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn and Omaha truck driver Spencer Zimmerman.
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