More money is pouring into the U.S. Senate race in Nebraska.
Joe Ricketts, the former Omaha entrepreneur, has dumped additional dollars into the race to help Republican Deb Fischer.
Ricketts is funding $200,000 for a television ad in which three Nebraskans — including Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood — defend Fischer against criticism from Democrat Bob Kerrey. Fischer and Kerrey are running for Sen. Ben Nelson's seat.
In all, Ricketts' super PAC, known as Ending Spending, has spent $690,000 on the race. In the general election alone, Ricketts has spent $420,000 on television advertisements supporting Fischer or opposing Kerrey.
In addition, a group that opposes any laws that require workers to pay union dues also purchased TV and newspaper ads. The National Right to Work Committee is spending $25,000 to oppose Kerrey as part of a wider national advocacy campaign.
In Ricketts' latest spot, three Nebraskans defend Fischer against “negative” ads run by Kerrey or a pro-Kerrey group, in which he criticizes Fischer for filing a lawsuit against an elderly couple. In the 1995 lawsuit, Fischer and her husband, Bruce, argued that they had acquired ownership of about 104 acres of land through a legal concept known as adverse possession. It is the same doctrine associated with squatters' rights.
“In some of the issues about the land deal, they're very clearly questioning her character and integrity ... and Mike Flood is attesting to her honesty and integrity,” said Brian Baker, an Ending Spending spokesman.
Kerrey's camp defended its criticism of Fischer's land deal, saying voters had a right to know.
“It isn't surprising that Joe Ricketts would try to come in to Fischer's rescue,” said Chris Triebsch, Kerrey spokesman.
In Ricketts' ad, State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha accuses Kerrey of “distorting” Fischer's record. In the process, Krist takes a poke at the former Nebraska governor. He noted again that Kerrey lived for years in New York.
“Deb's been in Nebraska doing Nebraska business, advocating for Nebraska citizens for the last 11 years, while Bob Kerrey has been someplace else,” he said.
Ricketts is the founder of Omaha-based TD Ameritrade and is part of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs. He currently lives in Little Jackson Hole, Wyo.
He was a key backer of Fischer's in the GOP Senate primary. Ricketts spent $250,000 in the final days of the primary campaign, supporting Fischer and bashing her key opponent, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning.
However, his support of Fischer pales in comparison to his support of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. His super PAC has spent $10 million on behalf of Romney's bid to oust President Barack Obama.
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