First there was a series of TV ads that favored Stenberg and slammed Bruning, then in the final weeks before the election, a super PAC bankrolled by TD Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs co-owner Joe Ricketts dropped more than $250,000 on an ad blitz that again criticized Bruning, this time supporting Fischer.
James Lawrence, 61, of Omaha, said he had planned to support Bruning in the GOP primary but decided to instead back Fischer because she seemed to stay positive in the campaign.
"I got a little tired of the negative ads, and I think she offers a refreshing approach," Lawrence said.
Jack Pfeifer of Omaha also took notice of Fischer when the ads began running and said her background in agriculture influenced his decision to vote for her.
"I grew up on a farm, and I guess that makes me feel like I can connect with her," Pfeifer said.
As a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Fischer had wanted to study political science, go on to law school and launch a career in politics. Instead, she married Bruce Fischer in 1972, moved to Valentine to help run the family ranch and raise three now-grown boys.
Fischer has played up her "ranch gal" persona throughout her campaign, but bristles at the suggestion that she's too much of a political novice to win in the fall.
"Some folks seem to think I came out of nowhere in this race," she said. "I have been a state senator for eight years. But more importantly than that, I've been involved in a number of organizations in the state for 30 years. I'm not an unknown."
Associated Press writer Grant Schulte reported from Lincoln.
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