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Nebraska Senate race targeted by Democratic super PAC

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Republicans appear to be getting closer to picking up the U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska even as liberal super PAC End the Gridlock spends more than $534,000 opposing the GOP candidate, state Sen. Deb Fischer.

Fischer faces former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson in the Republican-leaning state.

End the Gridlock was established in April in Washington, D.C., and has spent entirely in opposition to Fischer.  Nonetheless, End the Gridlock’s website says it plans to focus on “high-impact races” and names only Nebraska as such a race.

Its most recent quarterly filing shows the super PAC took in $229,000 through the end of June. The top donor, Hollywood producer Sidney Kimmel, gave $100,000. Kimmel earned his fortune as founder of the Jones Apparel Group, known for such brands as Jones New York and 9 West. More recent disclosures by the super PAC Majority PAC, whose goal is helping Democrats maintain control of the U.S. Senate, show transfers to End the Gridlock totaling more than $257,000 as well.

The only Nebraska-based donor currently on record is Richard Holland, who helped build one of Omaha’s largest ad agencies. As of the end of June, he contributed $25,000 to the super PAC. 

Fischer’s victory over state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg in the Republican primary came as a surprise. The Republican establishment spent hundreds of thousands backing Bruning, and conservative super PACs spent more than $1 million backing Stenberg, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Fischer got a late endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and triumphed thanks to 11th-hour support from a super PAC funded by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts.

The New York Times rates the Nebraska seat a “likely, though not surefire” pickup for the GOP, though it increasingly looks more certain. Fischer has a wide lead in the polls, as Kerrey has been criticized for spending the last 10 years in New York, where he served as the president of The New School.

In other outside spending news: 

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