By - December 28, 2011

Ben Nelson: That which is Old is New Again?

Ben NelsonBen Nelson:  That Which is Old is New Again?

It is official:  Senator Ben Nelson is not seeking re-election. He announced today he is going to concentrate on family and other obligations. (Read between the lines:  He did lots of polling and could not repair the damage sustained from the Cornhusker Kickback.)

With Ben out, what does that mean for the GOP? And the jackass Democrats?

First, it makes it highly unlikely the GOP establishment will continue to pressure Governor Heineman into the race – although the Governor would be a suitable replacement for Ben Nelson, looking much like Barney Rubble to Nelson’s Fred Flintstone.

Second, it allows for Congressmen Lee Terry or Jeff Fortenberry to enter the Senate race without the need to face a well-financed incumbent Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.   Although either would still be in a dogfight for the primary, many still hope for a strong Republican front runner to Bruning.   And they have federal campaign war chests. Running every six years, instead of two, can be a strong incentive.

Third, it gives Democrats the chance to get into the arena. Some have mentioned Kim Robak would be an attractive candidate, but we have not heard her publicly express interest in running.   Mayor Subtle in Omaha, in our opinion, could not win out west (and hopefully not in his own district) due to political damage. Mayor Beutler, of Lincoln, may be more palatable statewide than Subtle, but would also have difficulty carrying western voters. He ran previously for Governor and lost, realizing it is less about personal intelligence and more about popularity. Having an R after your name out west makes you more popular.  Just ask former Auditor Kate Witek.

Enter former Governor and Senator Bob Kerry, who has expressed interest in returning to Nebraska to run.

Bob Kerrey (his Picture on Wikipedia is from his Guv Luv Days!) was a Republican turned Democrat to run for Governor.  Prior to office was a successful business man and held the Congressional Medal of Honor after completing a SEAL Team mission in Vietnam (and losing his leg in the process). As Governor, he dated movie star Deborah Winger. As Senator, he was highly regarded.  Kerrey has been out of the state for almost twelve years as the President of the liberal New School University in New Yuck City.

Against Kerrey is the carpetbagger factor, he chose to live out of Nebraska for twelve years. He also isn’t getting any younger. He is reminiscent of the old neighbor man who yells, “Hope you damn kids get sick off them apples,” after he catches you sneaking a few from his tree.

But Bob Kerrey would likely bring not only an existing war chest and high name recognition, but also possible support from Hagel Republicans.

Hagel and Kerrey were tight in the Senate. It is no secret what Hagel thinks of Bruning, who announced he was challenging Hagel for the Senate and may have forced Hagel into a premature retirement.  If Bruning is the Republican nominee, and Kerrey gets into the Senate race, will former Senator Hagel endorse him?  Would it matter? In a close race between Bruning and Kerrey, having Hagel Republicans cross the isle to vote for Kerrey may give Kerrey the edge he needs.   Given Bruning’s baggage with the Nelnet river house, the Democrats may have enough to keep Bruning in the Attorney General’s Office.

With lackluster campaigning by Stenberg, Fischer, and Flynn, to avoid another proxy war between Hagel and Bruning, the Republicans best hope may be a Congressman Terry or Fortenberry deciding it’s time to run for Senate.  So Long, Ben Nelson!.

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Comments (1)


  1. krafcoupfuli says:

    When will most of us go to recognize her? ejaculated Mrs Rachel when she was securely out in the lane. begged Diana, who was bursting with curiosity on this point.

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