Bob Kerrey took the gloves off Monday in his battle with Deb Fischer for the U.S. Senate, traveling around the state to condemn Fischer’s long-standing troubles with a neighboring ranch. Fischer and her husband Bruce have battled for years to obtain 100 acres or so of a neighboring ranch that once belonged to Les and Betty Kimes.
Those acres are a link from the Fischer’s Sunny Slope Ranch to their summer pasture on the McKelvie National Forest, where the Fischer’s keep about half their cow herd.
It is also near the scenic Snake Falls, Nebraska's largest waterfall.
Kerrey said the dispute goes back to the mid-1980s. It degenerated from a gentleman’s agreement to allow cattle from both ranches to share some steep, difficult-to-fence pasture.
The Kimes refused to trade or sell the land to the Fischers, despite repeated offers. The Fischers unsuccessfully sued the Kimes for the land in 1995.
After the Kimes died, the Nebraska Game and Parks Department tried to buy the acres, but Fischer introduced a bill in the Legislature to curb their funding, which Kerrey called a violation of conflict-of-interest principles.
The land eventually went to a private sportsman’s club.
The dispute is described, with pertinent documents, on the website, http://www.fischerlandgrab.com/
Kerrey, who has addressed pressing national issues in the campaign, including detailed reforms to Social Security, Medicare and the federal budget, said the Fischers' lawsuit reflects badly on her character.
“If she is willing to abuse her legislative powers to promote her own self-interests and retaliate once again against the Kimes, think of how she will use her Senate office to promote what is best for herself and her billionaire backers,” Kerrey said.
"She has aligned herself the Tea Party agenda, signing Grover Norquist’s pledge never to raise taxes on the wealthy, never to eliminate tax loopholes or tax shelters. She has signed onto a Tea Party constitutional amendment that would force cuts to Medicare, Social Security and veteran programs by nearly 30 percent," he said.
Kerrey spoke at the North Platte Regional Airport on Monday afternoon.
Within two hours, Fischer announcing a press conference Tuesday morning with Gov. Dave Heineman.
Both Senate candidates filed their third-quarter campaign fundraising reports Monday in the multi-million-dollar race.
Kerrey raised $1.7 million and Fischer $2.4 million.