Kerrey Calls Fischer Bad Neighbor for Land Dispute


A picturesque waterfall and Nebraska's best trout fishing greets visitors at Snake River Falls.

And right next to it is Sunny Slope Ranch, operated by Deb Fischer and her husband Bruce. Her senate candidacy has attracted new scrutiny to a prolonged legal fight over the land near Valentine.

During a press conference in Grand Island, Sen. Bob Kerrey said, "It's a study of two neighbors, a good neighbor and not so good neighbor."

The Fischers grazed cattle on the property for years. By the late '90s, they wanted to buy or trade for those acres. When that didn't happen, the Fischers went to court claiming adverse possession -- essentially saying the land should be theirs since they'd been using it for years.

Kerrey said, "The Fischers went to court, tried to take the land."

Now Kerrey has launched a 60 second ad that he says tells the real story.

The Fischers dispute Bob Kerrey's claims. Campaign spokesman Daniel Keylin said, "Before the Fischers sold a parcel of their land, their lawyer advised them to clarify the land boundaries through the legal system."

The Fischer camp said, "It's truly pathetic that Bob Kerrey is now resorting to character assassination to revive his flailing campaign. He's revealing the disturbing depths he'll stoop to in order to win."

"I don't deny it's character assassination, but I didn't pull the trigger, she did," Kerrey responded.

Complicating the issue, when Les and Betty Kime, the owners of the disputed land died, it nearly became a state park. But Democrats say Deb Fischer stood in the way, blocking funds when she was a state senator, while never mentioning her personal stake.

Kerrey said it is relevant to this election. He said, "It demonstrates a vendetta, continuing action against the Kimes who had helped them."

Land disputes are not uncommon between farmers and ranchers. Some say Kerrey is showing he's out of touch with fence laws and the like.

The Fischer campaign called the attack "pathetic."

Their statement said, "Mr. Kerrey's reckless disregard for the truth and his desperate personal attacks are the epitome of what's wrong with Washington. Rather than focus on the issues or his record, Mr. Kerrey is turning to the politics of personal destruction. Mr. Kerrey should be ashamed of himself for bringing gutter politics to Nebraska."