Nebraska Democratic Senate candidate Bob Kerrey is attempting to use a neighborhood dispute to close the gap with Republican rival Deb Fischer.
Kerrey launched a $330,000 ad buy on Monday, focusing on a land case in which Fischer's family members are accused of betraying their neighbors. Entitled "Story," the one-minute clip tells the story of Les and Betty Kime, an elderly couple living in Valentine, Neb. who allowed the Fischers to graze cattle on their land for free.
The ad claims the relationship turned sour when the Fischers took the Kimes to court in 1995, suing them over the land's boundaries. The Kimes won the case, but the process cost the family $40,000 in legal fees.
The ad features three Valentine residents willing to publicly condemn Fischer over the dispute.
"Neighbors do not sue neighbors," says one of them, Don Pettigrew. His identity was reported by the Omaha World-Herald.
Fischer responded to the ad at a Monday press conference, calling Kerrey's attacks a "desperate distraction by a desperate candidate who's losing in the polls."
“While negative character attacks are the center of Mr. Kerrey’s campaign, I will continue to travel across the state to listen to Nebraskans and discuss the important issues facing our country," Fischer said. "We are committed to campaigning the Nebraska Way."
As of late September, polls showed Fischer, a member of the Nebraska Legislature, holding a 16-point lead over Kerrey, a former governor and U.S. senator from the state. The two are running to replace retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D).