'Rancher' has pros, cons for Fischer's Senate run

September 14, 2012 - 3:36 AM
Nebraska Senate

In this Wednesday, July 4, 2012 photo, Republican senate candidate, state Sen. Deb Fischer, center, campaigns at a July fourth parade in Omaha, Neb. Fischer is running against democrat Bob Kerrey for the senate seat vacated by Ben Nelson, D-Neb. Nebraska has far more cattle than people, so maybe it’s not surprising that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer stresses her rural background, clearly betting that it will play well with voters who have become more conservative and suspicious of government since her opponent, Democrat Bob Kerrey left the Senate in January 2001. But Democrats have worked to find a downside to the ranching life, and their campaign attacks have made the Nebraska race unlike any other this election season. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

VALENTINE, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska has far more cattle than people, so maybe it's not surprising that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Deb Fischer stresses her rural background.

Her campaign ads showing her leaning up against fence posts while she's described as a rancher who is "sharp as barb wire, tougher than a cedar fence post."

But those who support Democrat Bob Kerrey, a former governor and senator, have noted a downside to the ranching life, noting that Fischer pays less than $5,000 a year to graze 1,000 cattle on about 11,000 acres of federal land. That's far less than the more than $110,000 the Fischers would have to pay a private landowner for those grazing privileges.

Fischer dismisses the criticism, saying she pays the fees set by the government.