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Fischer says she'll seek third Senate term in 2024
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Fischer says she'll seek third Senate term in 2024

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Sen. Deb Fischer

Sen. Deb Fischer speaks to reporters as she arrives at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 27, 2020, during the first impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. 

Sen. Deb Fischer said Friday she's already decided that she is going to seek a third term in 2024, recognizing the importance that seniority plays in determining how effective a member of the U.S. Senate can be.

"I am going to run for the Senate again," Fischer said during a telephone interview from Washington.

"I've already decided," she said. "And I think it's good to get things out early.

"If you want to get things done, seniority matters," Fischer said.

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Fischer's early announcement not only informed voters, but also sent a signal to potential 2024 Senate candidates who might be considering whether to enter the race.

A contest without an incumbent in the field is a much easier political mountain to climb, and virtually all potential Republican candidates would be highly unlikely to consider a primary challenge with Fischer seeking reelection.

Although Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has not revealed any potential political plans after he is term-limited out of office at the end of 2022, a Senate bid has been high on the speculative list along with a possible bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination if that race is wide-open.

No senator from Nebraska has sought a third term in the last three decades, not since Democratic Sen. Jim Exon was reelected in 1990.  

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel and Democratic Sens. Bob Kerrey and Ben Nelson did not seek reelection after serving two terms.

Republican Sen. Mike Johanns left the Senate after a single term.

Fischer, a former two-term state senator, had been viewed as a potential 2022 gubernatorial candidate before announcing her intention to remain in the Senate.

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In 2018, she was reelected by a 133,000-vote margin, defeating Democratic nominee Jane Raybould.

Fischer said she is positioned to move up the ladder in seniority on Senate committees with a third term, and that, she said, "makes it easier to advance legislation and get things done."

Touching on a number of topics, Fischer said she is hopeful that there can be bipartisan agreement on a major infrastructure development plan, concerned about the approaching withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and supportive of Rep. Liz Cheney's right to express her criticism of former President Donald Trump.

"I believe in the big (Republican Party) tent," Fischer said. "Everyone should have a voice."

As for the Biden administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, Fischer said "I have questions about it, and I did when President Donald Trump proposed it" with a May 1 deadline.

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"I think we need to have some eyes looking over the horizon," Fischer said. "I have real concerns about the Taliban."

Taliban insurgents continue to battle with the Afghan government for control of the country.

Fischer said she sees some hopeful signs that the Biden administration and Senate Republicans may be able to reach some agreement on a major infrastructure development plan.

"It looks pretty good," she said, "and I guess we'll find out."

Fischer, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, was among a small group of Republicans who initially met with Biden at the White House for a bipartisan discussion about infrastructure legislation.

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"I told the president I thought the focus should be on core infrastructure," Fischer said, including roads, bridges, pipelines and broadband, instead of the broad range of topics, including child care and home care, contained in his original proposal. 

Fischer said she is encouraged by what Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the leading Republican negotiator, is telling her about progress toward a bipartisan agreement that focuses on core infrastructure.

"It's a moving target," Fischer said. 

Fischer pointed to collaborative work on the proposed Endless Frontier Act, which is aimed at expanding critical technology, as an example that "bipartisan is still there" in the Senate.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSdon

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