It's true that many incumbent Republican senators backed Bruning in the primary. But it's also the case that Fischer has close ties to Nebraska's establishment; after all, she had support from Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and shared a consultant with Sen. Mike Johanns
and former Sen. Chuck Hagel
. And Fischer, at the end of the day, may be the best candidate Republicans could field (Our colleague Jennifer Duffy told CBS
just that, and one prominent Democratic strategist emailed us with his lament that Bruning would have been easier to beat in November).
Fischer's win is certainly not an example of the Tea Party knocking off an establishment candidate. It is a loss for the three conservative groups in Washington, who just helped nominate a more moderate establishmentarian.