The primary election to settle the Nebraska Republican nominee for a 2012 U.S. Senate seat is four days off, and candidate Don Stenberg made an appearance Friday at the Sioux Gateway Airport. In a final push, State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine spoke Thursday in South Sioux City, while Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning made an area appearance a week ago.

Today's Journal contains a preview on the primary involving Stenberg, Fischer, Bruning, Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn and Spencer Zimmerman, a contractor from Omaha (Page A5). The big news in the last few days has been the endorsements Fischer has nabbed.

On Wednesday, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin endorsed Fischer. (It might be a stretch to give Fischer the Mama Grizzly moniker in a non-mountainous state like Nebraska, but Mama Deer, which would honor the state's designated mammal, doesn't have a fierce political feel either.) And on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry gave a notable endorsement to Fischer, too.

It is rare that sitting federal lawmakers provide their endorsements on spirited primary battles back home. There is a risk the endorsed candidate won't win, and the non-endorsed candidate could end up in the state's congressional delegation -- awkward.

But four-term Congressman Fortenberry, who is from Lincoln, knew those risks and went with Fischer over Bruning, the polling frontrunner. It is worth wondering if what Fischer has posited this week is true -- is Bruning, as evidenced by a change in advertising focus where is he now criticizing his primary opponents rather than President Barack Obama, indeed feeling pressure from a Fischer surge?

Is it possible the federal seat Bruning has desired could elude his grasp? Bruning is by far the fundraising leader in the race to move ahead to the November ballot with Democrat Bob Kerrey. But Fischer's campaign manager, Aaron Trost, said, "Jon Bruning has outspent us over 10 to one on TV ads and he knows his campaign is failing."

Fortenbery said he liked Fischer's reputation as a state lawmaker and the fact that she hasn't uttered "one single negative phrase" while campaigning.

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