Brewer challenges Smith for Congress

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - A former Nebraska Army National Guard soldier is launching a tough new mission to unseat the Republican congressman who represents the western two-thirds of the state.

Retired Col. Tom Brewer said Thursday he had decided to run against fellow Republican and incumbent Adrian Smith in Nebraska’s 3rd District.

Brewer said he knows it will be difficult to defeat Smith, who has held the House seat since 2007, but Brewer said he wants to make sure western Nebraska has a strong voice representing it in Congress.

“Our current leadership in Washington seems to want to do the exact opposite of what is best for us locally. Politicians seem to have no clue how to move our country forward. Our country needs statesmen, not politicians.’’

Brewer, 55, grew up in Gordon, Neb., and served 36 years in the military, including six deployments to Afghanistan. He said he wants to keep serving his country by fighting for lower taxes, a balanced budget and to protect the state’s resources.

The two men offer similar positions on the issues. Smith is a 43-year-old former state senator and city councilman from Gering who says he fights against tax increases and supports gun rights and a balanced budget.

But Brewer said that if elected, he would be more visible and more willing to disagree with Republican leaders if that’s what voters in Nebraska want. He also wants to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reforms.

“My brand of leadership will work to overthrow the selfish choices made by politicians who have lost touch with the needs of their constituents,’’ he said.

Brewer acknowledged that he won’t be able to match Smith’s financial resources and will have to work to get in front of as many voters as possible before the May primary. Smith had more than $800,000 cash on hand to support his campaign, according to his last report.

Brewer was wounded twice during his service in Afghanistan. The most recent injuries came during a 2011 rocket-propelled grenade attack and forced him to retire from the military.

Editor’s note: For more information, visit Brewer’s website,

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