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Nebraska's Deb Fischer beats Bob Kerrey for Senate seat

By David Bailey

(Reuters) - Rancher Deb Fischer defeated former Governor Bob Kerrey in a Nebraska U.S. Senate race - a Republican pickup of a seat in the upper chamber.

Fischer, 61, a state legislator, easily won in a state that has trended more conservative in recent years.

Elected to the Nebraska legislature in 2004, Fischer upset two better-known opponents to win the Republican primary. She will succeed retiring Democratic Senator Ben Nelson.

Fischer has said she favors repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms and supports passage of a balanced budget amendment. She also supports more oil drilling and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would go through Nebraska.

Kerrey was elected governor of Nebraska in 1982. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988, re-elected in 1994 and sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1992. He also served as member of a commission looking into the September 11 attacks.

Republicans attacked Kerrey as out of touch with Nebraska. He had lived in New York for the last decade and served as president of The New School, a university in New York City.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune and Ciro Scotti)