Conflicting reports emerged Monday in the Nebraska Senate race, over whether former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey — who announced three weeks ago that he would not run for the open seat of fellow Democrat Ben Nelson — might actually be getting in after all.
The latest reports suggest that Kerrey is either getting in, or is just reconsidering it.
The Associated Press reports:
Paul Johnson once served as Kerrey’s campaign manager. He said Monday that Kerrey told him he was again considering running for the seat now held by outgoing Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.
Johnson says Kerrey has not yet made up his mind and reports that he had decided to run “are not true.” Johnson says Kerrey could announce a decision as soon as Wednesday
Earlier, the Washington Post, followed by CNN, reported that Kerrey was getting into the race. According to the Post, a senior Democratic aide said that Kerrey had called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to inform him of the decision.
On the one hand, a Kerrey entry into the race could potentially lift Democratic hopes to hold the seat in this heavily Republican race. However, if Kerrey were to get into the race, he’ll be doing it in the nick of time for the Thursday filing deadline — but also probably causing some bad blood with other Democrats who were subject to an earlier deadline.
Under Nebraska election law, there is actually a two-tiered system for filing deadlines. For those who currently hold any public office, the filing deadline was February 15. For non-officeholders, the deadline is March 1, this Thursday.
And as the Omaha World-Herald reports, current Democratic candidate Chuck Hassebrook — who because of the earlier deadline had to pull out of the race for his University of Nebraska Board of Regents seat, which is an elected position in this state — is none too happy with the prospect.
Hassebrook released a statement this morning, saying in part: “I do not believe the report that Bob Kerrey is getting in the Senate race. Bob Kerrey is a man of integrity. He told me as recently as a few days ago that he would assist my campaign. I gave up my seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents based on his word. I do not believe he would go back on it.”
Kerrey was first elected governor in 1982, then did not seek another term in 1986. He was elected to the Senate in 1988, re-elected in 1994, and retired in 2000, when he was succeeded by Ben Nelson.