Republicans want to win back a majority in the Senate in November, and one of their best chances of flipping a Democratic seat is now in the hands of a woman who wasn't backed by either establishment Republicans or Tea Party people. After polling way behind for months, Nebraska State Senator Deb Fischer beat establishment pick Jon Bruning, the State Attorney General, and Don Stenberg, the State Treasurer who was backed by Tea Party Senator Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth. Fischer is a "little-known lawmaker," Politico's David Cantanese reports, and she'll be competing against the very well-known Democrat Bob Kerrey, a popular former senator and governor. In the past, little-known Senate candidates -- like Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell -- have proved delightfully entertaining, so will Fischer provide the same fun? Probably not. Here's what you need to know about her.
Name: Deb Fischer
Job: State Senator from Valentine, Nebraska, representing one of the biggest and most rural districts in the state.
Regular job: Rancher.
Nicknames: The Queen; The General.
Known for: Policy-wise, for being very pro-life. Personality-wise, for being aggressive. In March of last year, the Omaha World-Herald said she was "one of the most influential senators" in the state legislature, even though she's only been in office since 2005. She caught her colleagues' attention as a freshman, when she broke the rules of the traditional pecking order by challenging the ruling of the speaker. Even a Democratic legislator called her "one of t he most talented and effective senators" in the state capitol. She didn't mind being known as a baller, the newspaper reported: "Fischer said her reputation as being ruthless is overblown, 'but it helps.'"
Major accomplishment: Getting a quarter cent of the state's 5.5 percent sales tax dedicated to funding local and state roads. It diverted money from education and human services.
Moment of careful politicking: In November, Democrats accused Fischer of avoiding taking a position on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf through Nebraska's aquifer. The Republican governor opposed it, and the Obama administration blocked it, something national Republicans have used as evidence that President Obama doesn't care about jobs or gas prices. Fischer had said of the pipeline, "We're just waiting to see if they come up with some sort of compromise solution to this... I represent the Sandhills in the legislature and I know the importance of the aquifer to the people of this state."
Pop culture relevance: One of her aides was Tommy Lee's roommate on the 2005 NBC show Tommy Lee Goes to College.
What the race will be about: Who best embodies wholesome Nebraska values. Before Kerrey served two terms each as governor and senator, he was a Navy SEAL who lost a leg. But he lived in liberal New York City for a decade, something Fischer won't let anyone forget. In her victory speech Tuesday, she said, "We need somebody who's different. Somebody who's tough. Somebody who's a Nebraskan."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.