LINCOLN, Neb. A new television ad from Nebraska Democratic Party portrays federal grazing leases held by Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Deb Fischer’s family as a welfare handout.
Democratic Party Chairman-elect Vince Powers on Monday unveiled the statewide television ad that accuses Fischer of benefiting from a deal that less than 1 percent of Nebraska ranchers receive.
The 30-second ad, filled with ranch imagery and mooing cows, casts Fischer as a “millionaire rancher” with a “sweetheart deal” on the land leases. It concludes: “Tell welfare rancher Deb Fischer to cut wasteful spending, not profit from it.”
Fischer, a Nebraska state senator, is locked in a high-profile U.S. Senate race with Democrat Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and former U.S. senator looking to reclaim his old seat. Republicans and Democrats have both identified the seat as one of their highest priorities in the November general election.
Fischer, of Valentine, has faced criticism for her family’s participation in the federal grazing program. Her family’s ranching corporation pays $4,700 to graze cattle for seven months on federal land, about $110,000 less than the market rate for leasing private land in Cherry County.
Republicans say the accusation distorts the family’s true cost of grazing, which includes federal grazing permits, fencing requirements and other regulations. Public grazing also helps lower the federal government’s land-maintenance costs, Fischer’s supporters say.
“The Democrats have launched a false and misleading smear campaign to distract voters from Bob Kerrey’s strong support for Obamacare and government-run health care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Fischer campaign spokesman Daniel Keylin said. “They’re attacking Deb Fischer because they know she’ll repeal Obamacare, support a balanced budget amendment, and she won’t be another vote for the failed economic policies of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.”
The winner of the Nebraska contest will replace U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election. Nelson introduced a measure in June that would increase fees ranchers pay to graze livestock on federal lands a move that would hit the Fischer family’s pocketbook if approved. The measure would require federal grazing fees be comparable to those
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