Thursday, September 06, 2018

Nebraska U.S. Senate- Race of the Day

61 Days Until Election Day

Nebraska U.S. Senate

Status: Republican Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

Six years ago, rancher Deb Fischer offered a preview of the desire in the Republican Party for candidates who could be described as "outsiders." While she was a State Senator, she defeated two much more well-known male candidates in the GOP primary, both of whom were statewide officeholders. Moving ahead to the general election in the conservative state, she had little trouble beating a former Governor, U.S. Senator and one time Democrat Presidential hopeful, who was attempting a political comeback in Nebraska.

In Washington, Senator Fischer has not made a lot of headlines. In 2016, she called for Donald Trump to resign the GOP Presidential after the Access Hollywood remarks went public, but three days later, after it was clear it would not happen, she reaffirmed she would be voting for him. She has mostly tried to stay in Trump's good graces since he became President, not approaching anything like the level of critique that her junior homestate Republican colleague Ben Sasse has. Still, nobody would accuse Fischer of being an overly polarizing figure.

In her state's May primary against several little known candidates and with Trump's support, she won 76 percent of the vote. The closest competitor, who received 12 percent was businessman Todd Waston, who had run for the Senate as an Independent before and referred to himself as a "constitutionalist." He ran to the incumbent's right and in a Trumpian way, called her "Dishonest Deb." Some time earlier, former White House aide Steve Bannon had listed Fischer as among the Senate incumbents he would work to defeat.

The Democrats' primary was won by Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould, whom had been the party's nominee for Lt. Governor in 2014. She took 64 percent of the vote while businessman Chris Janicek took 20 percent and 93 year old retired farmer Frank Svoboda won 11 percent of the vote.

In nominating Raybould, Democrats have a credible candidate, but absent some late-breaking scandal, it is hard to see Fischer being very vulnerable in what is a reliably Republican state. After all, as a non-incumbent she easily defeated Bob Kerrey six years ago. A Raybould campaign poll conducted by the Democrat affiliated Public Policy Polling, showed the incumbent was only ahead 42-31, with a very large group undecided, but other polls have showed Fischer's lead to be a good deal larger. 

The GOP Senator may not have a huge political profile back home, but in this state, where Democrat resources will be spread out in so many other directions, it is hard to see how her opponent gets much more than 40 percent of the vote.

 U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 
12 D (7 Safe, 2 Likely, 1 Leans, 2 Tossup), 
  6 R (2 Safe, 1 Likely, 3 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:
35 D (23 holdovers, 7 Safe, 2 Likely, 1 Leans, 2 Tossup)
48 R (42 holdovers, 2 Safe, 1 Likely, 3 Tossup)

(As a note, this holdover total includes the newly sworn in Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ). At this point, Kyl has only publicly committed to serving for the remainder of this year, but his hold on the seat would not otherwise expire until a November 2020 special election. If Kyl were to resign after this year's election, Arizona law mandates that whomever the Governor is, a member of the Republican Party be appointed to fill the seat that the late John McCain was elected to.)


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Corey: Fischer should be in the United States Senate for 18 years.


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