Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning landed another big endorsement Thursday, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce throwing its support behind his Senate candidacy.
The national organization praised Bruning for his role in fighting to overturn President Obama's health-care law and for supporting free enterprise.
Bruning is one of three key Republicans running for Nebraska's U.S. Senate seat, along with State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine and State Treasurer Don Stenberg. The party's nominee will be chosen in the May 15 primary. The victor is likely to face presumptive Democratic nominee Bob Kerrey in November.
Stenberg quickly took aim at Bruning and the Chamber of Commerce, arguing the endorsement was proof that Bruning was a “big government Republican” because he had the backing of an organization that supported President Obama's stimulus packages and the federal government's rescue of the auto industry.
“I'm not going to Washington to support big business and corporate welfare. Nebraska voters will send me there to support free enterprise,” Stenberg said.
Bruning countered that Stenberg's criticism of a pro-business group was another sign of a desperate campaign.
“This just goes to show how desperate Don is. First, Don falsely attacked Jon Bruning. Now he's attacked the U.S. Chamber, the largest pro- business organization in the world,” said Trent Fellers, Bruning's campaign manager.
Bruning was one of several state attorneys general to file a lawsuit against the health-care plan, which the chamber cited in its press release. The chamber argues the law would raise taxes and forces businesses to comply with expensive regulations.
“We're endorsing Jon Bruning because of his proven leadership in protecting and advancing the interests of Nebraska's job creators,” said Rob Engstrom, the chamber's senior vice president and national political director.
The chamber is the nation's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million business of all sizes.
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