WASHINGTON -- An insurgency within an insurgency could be emerging in the GOP Senate primary in Nebraska, where a lesser-known upstart appears to be gaining on two other conservative candidates in yet another battle between tea party activists and the GOP establishment this election cycle.
Deb Fischer, a state legislator endorsed by Sarah Palin, has surged heading into Tuesday’s election, according to a recent survey, beyond establishment-backed Attorney General Jon Bruning and Dan Stenberg, the state treasurer. Her possible rise offers another twist in the race for an open seat that provides that had been considered among the easier pick-ups for Republicans with Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson’s retirement.
As happened in Indiana last week, when tea party upstart Richard Mourdock defeated veteran Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, the Nebraska primary shows the restive ranks within the GOP.
Even before Fischer’s surge, the party had already splintered as the GOP establishment and some tea party groups rallied behind Bruning, but key conservative leaders, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) backed Stenberg, the Nebraska state treasurer.