The Washington Times - October 17, 2012, 12:35PM

Both candidates for the Nebraska Senate seat on Wednesday got a boost from Washington heavyweights.

Republican state Sen. Deb Fischer, who remains ahead in the polls, was endorsed by Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party’s presidential candidate in 2008. Thirty minutes later, Democrat Bob Kerrey, the state’s former governor and two-term senator, rolled out a high-profile endorsement of his own from independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

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“I served with Bob for years,” Mr. Lieberman said. “He became one of my best friends. But it’s not just because of that friendship that I am coming to help him. The Senate needs Bob Kerrey because he is an independent thinker who always works across party lines to get things done and that will mean great things for Nebraska and our country.”

Mr. McCain touted Ms. Fischer’s commitment to trim the federal budget as one of the prime reasons he’s backing her in the hotly contested race.

“I’m proud to support Deb Fischer in this important election for U.S. Senate. She has the character and commitment to change Washington,” he said. “She will work to eliminate wasteful spending, balance the budget, and grow the private sector economy. Facing an ever-growing debt, we need fiscally conservative leadership like Deb’s in the U.S. Senate to get our nation back on the right track.”

The Nebraska contest is a key component of Republican hopes to recapture control of the Senate. Moderate Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson is retiring at the end of this term, and Republicans see the conservative state as a golden opportunity to pick up a Senate seat.