Bloomberg News

Former Democratic Senator Kerrey Weighs Run in Nebraska Again

February 28, 2012

Bob Kerrey, center, with students at the New School University in New York. Photographer: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times/Redux

Bob Kerrey, center, with students at the New School University in New York. Photographer: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times/Redux

Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey may reverse a decision not to seek the state’s open U.S. Senate seat in November’s election, said a Democratic campaign consultant who has worked with him.

“Kerrey is reconsidering, but has not made a decision,” said Paul Johnson, the campaign consultant.

Kerrey announced on Feb. 7 that he had decided against running for the Senate. The state’s candidate filing deadline is March 1. He left the chamber in 2001 after two six-year terms.

A Kerry candidacy would rekindle Democratic hopes of retaining the seat and bolster the party’s effort to keep its Senate majority. Republicans currently are favored to pick up the seat after Democrat Ben Nelson, who has held it for two terms, decided to retire.

Democrats control the U.S. Senate, 53-47, and must defend 23 of the 33 seats on the ballot this year. Nelson’s retirement, announced in December, made him the seventh incumbent Democrat to decide not to seek re-election in 2012.

Kerrey, 68, served in the Navy SEAL special forces unit from 1966 to 1969, lost part of one leg in the Vietnam war and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He served as governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987, and was elected to the Senate a year later. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.

Kerry helped Nelson, 70, win the seat he gave up in the 2000 election.

New School

After leaving the Senate, Kerrey was president of the New School University in New York City. He serves on the boards of Tenet Healthcare Corp. (THC), Jones Group Inc. (JNY), and Scientific Games Corp. (SGMS)

Republicans vying for the Senate seat include Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning; Don Stenberg, the state’s treasurer and former attorney general; and state Senator Deb Fischer.

Democrats who are candidates for Nelson’s seat include Steven Lustgarten, a video producer; Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs; and Larry Marvin, who lost a Senate bid in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net


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