Don Stenberg

Don Stenberg makes a point during the Nebraska Republican Senate debate with Jon Bruning and Deb Fischer in Omaha Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (The Associated Press)

The Associated Press

Republican Senate candidate Deb Fischer snared the endorsement of Sarah Palin on Wednesday, and GOP rival Don Stenberg made the case during a final statewide campaign tour that he's the conservative who can't be changed by Washington.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jon Bruning, the acknowledged frontrunner in the Republican primary tussle, turned his attention to presumptive Democratic nominee Bob Kerrey with a new TV ad campaign arguing that "restoring common sense to government starts with defeating Bob Kerrey and Barack Obama."

Palin and her husband, Todd, told Fischer they support her bid for Nebraska's Senate seat and will contribute to her campaign.

"We admire your conservative principles and know that you will not go to Washington to amass great wealth or power," the Palins wrote in a note to Fischer. "You will go to Washington to serve the people of Nebraska, protect our Constitution and work for common sense solutions to help restore America."

Fischer, a state senator from Valentine, earlier had written the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee requesting her support as "a fellow female Republican" and strong conservative.

Welcoming the endorsement of the Palins, Fischer said: "I greatly admire their willingness to stand on conservative principle and their resolve in standing up to the political establishment."

Stenberg, the state treasurer, headed out on a two-day fly-around campaign tour that will take him to 13 communities.

During a stop at Silverhawk Aviation in Lincoln, Stenberg said he's the candidate conservatives can count on to "vote the same way in Washington as he talks in Nebraska."

"I didn't change who I am or the things I believe just to run for office," he said, repeating his scarcely veiled campaign-long assault on Bruning.

"In this Republican Senate primary, I am not the flashy candidate nor the new face who people don't know much about," Stenberg said. "What I am is a genuine, lifelong conservative who Nebraskans know and trust."

In answer to questions, Stenberg said he believes the results of Tuesday's Republican Senate primary election in Indiana demonstrate that voters are "looking for the true conservative instead of the establishment candidate."

Conservative Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock defeated veteran Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, whose votes on a number of issues have strayed from conservative ideology.

"I think the political climate in Indiana and Nebraska would be about the same," Stenberg said.

Nebraska Republicans need to choose their strongest conservative nominee, he said, because Kerrey will be "a very formidable candidate" in the fall.

"With Barack Obama and Harry Reid taking America even farther in the wrong direction, we can't afford to send them reinforcements in the person of Bob Kerrey," he said. 

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at


Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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