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Originally published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 9:14 AM

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GOP groups invest in Neb., NM Senate races

A Republican-leaning outside group is investing in Nebraska's suddenly tighter Senate race, looking to shore up Republican Deb Fischer as she tries to turn back Democrat Bob Kerrey's bid to return to the Senate.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

A Republican-leaning outside group is investing in Nebraska's suddenly tighter Senate race, looking to shore up Republican Deb Fischer as she tries to turn back Democrat Bob Kerrey's bid to return to the Senate.

American Crossroads, the group organized by Republican operative Karl Rove, is spending $420,000 on the race and will unveil an ad on Wednesday. Republicans and Democrats say the race has narrowed since recent polls showed Fischer with a double-digit lead in the GOP-leaning state.

"At the end of the day, the U.S. Senate can't afford people like Bob Kerrey," said Nate Hodson, a spokesman for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.

Kerrey has been airing an ad that criticizes Fischer and her husband for suing an elderly couple and neighbors for land that the Fischers had used for their cattle. The ad focuses on the 1995 lawsuit and the 104 acres owned by the late Les and Betty Kime. It includes Nebraskans speaking out against Fischer and questioning her character.

Kerrey is a former governor, senator and one-time presidential candidate who was heavily recruited by top Democrats to seek the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

American Crossroads' affiliate, Crossroads GPS, made a $5.3 million ad buy on Tuesday, with new commercials to air in Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia - all competitive races - as well as Maine and New Mexico.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has ended its spending in Maine, where independent and former Gov. Angus King is leading the polls. King is likely to caucus with the Democrats if he wins the election next week. Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe is retiring.

In New Mexico, Democrat Martin Heinrich has maintained a lead over former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson for the seat held by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who decided not to seek another term.

Crossroads GPS is investing $512,000 in New Mexico and will unveil its ad on Wednesday.

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