Bob Kerrey – exit stage left

posted at 3:40 pm on February 7, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

In Nebraska, Senator Ben Nelson will not be seeking another term, with observers noting that his chances looked fairly slim at best. Rumors quickly began flying that, in order to hold on to the seat, the Democrats might want to go with somebody carrying a proven track record as a winner. The progressive community turned its lonely eyes to Bob Kerrey, previous holder of that same seat as well as being a former Governor of the state. This week we learned that, alas, it was simply not meant to be.

“I have given the decision of becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate very serious thought and prayer,” Kerrey said in an email announcing his decision. “To those who urged me to do so, I am sorry, very sorry to have disappointed you. I hope you understand that I have chosen what I believe is best for my family and me.”

Kerrey, who moved to New York City after giving up his seat in 2001, spent nearly a week in Nebraska last month to seek advice about whether to run in a state that has drifted ideologically away from him since he left.

Kerrey is citing family concerns as his reason, as he absolutely has every right to do. He’s already put in a lot of years and it would be hard to argue that he “owes it” to the party to come back and dive into this sort of exceedingly difficult battlefield at this point in his career. But one has to wonder if he might have looked upon it a bit more favorably is he felt there was a solid chance of winning.

This is looking like some good news for the GOP, who need a minimum of four net seats gained in the Senate to seize the majority next year. Nebraska seems to be sliding more and more toward the red side of purple, so expect to see a lot of time, effort and money dumped into this race in the months to come.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Nebraska seems to be sliding more and more toward the red side of purple, so expect to see a lot of time, effort and money dumped into this race in the months to come.

I’d say it’s in the bag.

EddieC on February 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

tea leaves and all that…

Logus on February 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

This is looking like some good news for the GOP, who need a minimum of four net seats gained in the Senate to seize the majority next year

Nah, they’ll figure out a way to muck it up.

JPeterman on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

red wave 2012 as long as the wingnuts dont ruin it with a Newt or Santorum nomination. those 2 will kill down-ticket elections while Romney would boost them, creating a more conservative congress.

lets see if the right gets smart and accepts Mitt or if they keep moaning all the way to the missed opportunity box (2012 redux)

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

*2010 redux

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:47 PM

“I would run except I have to wash my hair that year”.

Democrats are on a great run lately.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Maybe him and Ben can start a pizza delivery business.

hillsoftx on February 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM

The Dems could run a 6ft tall ear of corn who wants to force Starbucks to serve ethanol espressos and they’ll still lose.

[x] R – Nebraska

EddieC on February 7, 2012 at 3:50 PM

A friendly reminder of why the incumbency advantage, while strong, does not fully account for the reelection rate statistic. Weak incumbents rarely run, and thus the 97%+ reelection rate stays intact.

ernesto on February 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I hope the RNC knows Dede Scozzafava moved to NE…..

roy_batty on February 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I lived in Nebraska when he was a Senator, and for the life of me I couldn’t see why such a conservative state elected such a liberal. I think it had something to do with him being a war hero. And also to some degree they were star-struck with their Senator dating a movie star (Debra Winger).

Mitoch55 on February 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

“Kerrey is citing family concerns as his reason…”

In other words…

… he’s gay.

/

Seven Percent Solution on February 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

“I have given the decision of becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate very serious thought and prayer,”… I hope you understand that I have chosen what I believe is best for my family and me.”

Another reason to abolish prayer, family.

/progressive

HitNRun on February 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM

With Obama beating Willard by at least 10 in CO, this seat probably stays D.

Annar on February 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

“I have given the decision of becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate very serious thought and prayer,” Kerrey said

He said prayer,do you think they still want him?

docflash on February 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

And I’m supposed to care about this why?

ToddPA on February 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

*2010 redux

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Pfft, hardly. The country is trending Democrat all over.

Haven’t you heard? Catholics, small-government types, anti-abortion, anti-debt, traditional values folks, and more are insignificant.

They won’t play any significant role in November.

roy_batty on February 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

red wave 2012 as long as the wingnuts dont ruin it with a Newt or Santorum nomination. those 2 will kill down-ticket elections while Romney would boost them, creating a more conservative congress.

lets see if the right gets smart and accepts Mitt or if they keep moaning all the way to the missed opportunity box (2012 redux)

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Rasmussen Reports 2/4 – 2/6 1500 LV 48 42 Obama +6

You were saying something about dragging down ticket elections….

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

The progressive community turned its lonely eyes to Bob Kerrey, previous holder of that same seat as well as being a former Governor of the state.

“Hey, I have an idea, let’s run a career politician for the open Senate seat! After mall, we’re so anti-establishment, and stuff.”

–typical leftist

UltimateBob on February 7, 2012 at 4:01 PM

red wave 2012 as long as the wingnuts dont ruin it with a Newt or Santorum nomination. those 2 will kill down-ticket elections while Romney would boost them, creating a more conservative congress.

lets see if the right gets smart and accepts Mitt or if they keep moaning all the way to the missed opportunity box (2012 redux)

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

How about you stop listening to Glenn Beck and think for a second?

There is this insane logic going around that somehow a liberal Democrat posing as an “R” will magically help conservative senate candidates. It’s beyond ludicrous.

If Romney is the nominee, will he get conservatives out to vote for Republican senate races? Not at all. He will get independents out to vote who will most likely vote “D” for senate races.

If a “wingnut” is the nominee, will get get conservatives out to vote? Hells yea. And when they show up they will also vote straight R on everything else.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

This one offsets Scott Brown. Nebraska is now a lock. North Dakota is a lock for the GOP. Montana is looking good. The GOP might get the Senate but it is not a lock. Fact, republicans lost 2 Senate Seats as Reagan won a 49 state lanslide in 1984. The only republican to unseat a democrat incumbent was Mitch McConnell.

CoolChange80 on February 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

And also to some degree they were star-struck with their Senator dating a movie star (Debra Winger).

Mitoch55 on February 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

A Winger and a left-winger.

A match made in heaven! :-)

UltimateBob on February 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Tim Tebow takes Colorado, then onto the White House.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

A friendly reminder of why the incumbency advantage, while strong, does not fully account for the reelection rate statistic. Weak incumbents rarely run, and thus the 97%+ reelection rate stays intact.

ernesto on February 7, 2012 at 3:51 PM

That is a very good point. I wonder what the rate would be if adjusted for those situations.

JeffWeimer on February 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Bob turned to prayer?

Whew…good luck for us that member of the Bible-clinging American Taliban isn’t going to run for office. Christians want to create a Christo-Fascist society….at least that’s what I remember hearing back during Dubya’s tenure.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

2012 = 2008 but worse. At least with 2008 you knew it was going to be a bloodbath because of Bush fatigue and the financial market crash.

In 2012 though, Republicans should have been able to win and win big. Instead Obama will win by 10%, GOP will pick up 1 or 2 seats and most likely lose the house as well.

RNC. Getting stupider by the day.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

You see the picture of Kerry’s face?
I think Horace told Bob that John Kerry…
could sh!t more corn!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Rasmussen Reports 2/4 – 2/6 1500 LV 48 42 Obama +6

You were saying something about dragging down ticket elections….

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

My prediction of Obama by 10 over Willard on election day may be giving the Massachusetts wonder too much credit. Nevertheless, turnout is greatly influenced by the main attraction in a presidential year so with Obama running against a political clone many down ticket potential wins will turn into losses as many voters simply sit this one out.

Annar on February 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Fact, republicans lost 2 Senate Seats as Reagan won a 49 state lanslide in 1984. The only republican to unseat a democrat incumbent was Mitch McConnell.

CoolChange80 on February 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

See, this proves that we need to nominate more electable candidates like Mitt.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM

No, we can let our hair down and nominate Newt O’Donnell.

Because he’s not a witch or something.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

He doesn’t need to run. He already receives a congressional pension for life, paid yearly in an amount most people cannot even dream of.

maryo on February 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Good thing that Baroque El Downgrade’s ego wont allow him not to run, despite the numbers.

anikol on February 7, 2012 at 4:16 PM

No, we can let our hair down and nominate Newt O’Donnell.

Because he’s not a witch or something.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

There was a joke in there somewhere, keep looking. It might be funny.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

I’m sure all that war criminal talk made Kerrey more likely to help out the progressive community.

rw on February 7, 2012 at 4:21 PM

angryed has gone off the deep end again.

Contrary to your wisdom, the things you don’t like about Romney in the primary make him more palatable in the general to millions of independents, soccer Moms, and discerning Dems. These people are going to vote anyway. What they are seeking is a plausible alternative to Obama – not a hot head or someone with a congressional voting record that can be picked to death.

As to conservatives voting or sitting home, I am confident that very few will stay at home, because any alternative is preferrable to Obama.

Members of Congress know something about presidential contests affecting their races. If they thought that Santorum or Gingrich would help them, they’d be endorsing either or both. Only a handful have, whereas dozens upon dozens have endorsed Romney from all regions of the nation. That support is telling, because politicians are very self-involved people. Their first rule at the top of the ticket is “Do No Harm.” Obviously they feel – correctly in my view — that Santorum or Gingrich would do a great deal of harm to them.

Of course, you can assume the mantle of knowing so much more than the rest of us, including elected members of Congress, so keep up the discourse…

matthew8787 on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

You’d better hope he doesn’t see that.

Bmore on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

tea leaves and all that…

Logus on February 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

I thought we tea leaves were dead. Yeah I’m pretty sure the earlier thread had us dead.

Bmore on February 7, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Contrary to your wisdom, the things you don’t like about Romney in the primary make him more palatable in the general to millions of independents, soccer Moms, and discerning Dems.

matthew8787 on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

LOL. And these are the people who will be voting for Republican senate candidates too. You’re beyond deluded.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:25 PM

The Tea Party is dead.

MNHawk on February 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM

matthew8787 on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

I guess you missed the RomneyAir post in the headlines about how the more people get to know Willard the less they like about him.

Good luck with that strategy.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM

He looks like such a friendly chap, doesn’t he?

Meanwhile, we’ve got a House (R) who is exiting stage right.

Rep. Myrick announces she’ll retire this year

Flora Duh on February 7, 2012 at 4:26 PM

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

The joke is that Gingrich will get trounced like O’Donnell and Angle did if we’re stupid enough to nominate him.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Contrary to your wisdom, the things you don’t like about Romney in the primary make him more palatable in the general
matthew8787 on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Does palatable also mean unelectable?

Rasmussen Reports 2/4 – 2/6 1500 LV 48 42 Obama +6
Reuters/Ipsos 2/2 – 2/6 881 RV 48 42 Obama +6
ABC News/Wash Post 2/1 – 2/4 879 RV 51 45 Obama +6

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM

The joke is that Gingrich will get trounced like O’Donnell and Angle did if we’re stupid enough to nominate him.

NoDonkey on February 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Totally!!!

Rasmussen Reports 2/4 – 2/6 1500 LV 48 42 Obama +6
Reuters/Ipsos 2/2 – 2/6 881 RV 48 42 Obama +6
ABC News/Wash Post 2/1 – 2/4 879 RV 51 45 Obama +6

PS: Angle only lost by 4%

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:30 PM

another one bites the dust..hey hey… and another one gone, ect, ect

MJZZZ on February 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Rasmussen Reports 2/4 – 2/6 1500 LV 48 42 Obama +6

You were saying something about dragging down ticket elections….

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

I am really convinced, more and more as days go by, that Romney supporters are one seriously delusional group. Not only calling an avowed and self admitted progressive a “conservative”, but forgetting that just 4 years ago he could not get Republicans/conservatives get him more than 25-30% of support, he lost to an eventual loser McLame, as liberal as Romney is, and that same demented group thinks that Romney will now attract 51% in the General. I was hoping for the worst case scenario where our guy in General may, just may, lose top ticket and we still pick up seats in Senate and House (or at least hold House), but now that scenario is unlikely as people will simply vote down the ticket, thus losing us Congress seats. Just how many RINOs are out there? Enough to get Romney elected? I don’t think so, conservatives will stay home, just look at NV numbers as well as IA, why waste your time voting if you either are not allowed to (and must prove your religion to do so) or your votes “get lost”, entire precincts’ votes are lost since they don’t fit the Establishment’s agenda.

riddick on February 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

And I’m supposed to care comment about this why?

ToddPA on February 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

FIFY

Buttercup on February 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM

matthew8787 on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

That +1…

Great Comment Matt..

uhangtight on February 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM

riddick on February 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

The truth of the matter is Mittbots don’t care about beating Obama. Their only goal is to destroy the conservative movement and purge it from the GOP once and for all. They’re liberals but just not full blown communists which is why they’re not Democrats. But if push comes to shove they’d rather have Obama instead of one of those icky yucky conservative types.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM

I thought the left tried to run Kerrey out of politics as some kind of war criminal. I’ll let Commentary explain it all to you. You can google “Kerrey war criminal” if you want to read the left’s version.

Dawnsblood on February 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Obama is at 60% on intrade.

As a point of reference he was around 50% in December when it looked like Romney might not be the nominee after all.

Mr. Electable

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM

You’d better hope he doesn’t see that.

Bmore on February 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

It’s ok! Bob Kerry is a BIG Nebraska CornHusker fan!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Stupid Ben Nelson, I was ready to vote against that jerk and he goes and takes a dive. They should force him to run for reelection, force him to listen to the constituents he betrayed, force him to see what he has wrought but the cowardly, traitorous scumbag won’t even face the voters. Typical Democrat.

Smedley on February 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM

The key to victory — in all these races — will be money $$. As commenters, we will have a duty to spread the word on that. Donate$ or die. Or say it another way perhaps.

anotherJoe on February 7, 2012 at 4:47 PM

How about you stop listening to Glenn Beck and think for a second?

Glenn Beck supports Santorum. I commented in favor of Romney. pay attention please.

There is this insane logic going around that somehow a liberal Democrat posing as an “R” will magically help conservative senate candidates. It’s beyond ludicrous.

There are no liberal Democrats posing as “R”s running for president. true that Newt and Santorum are more liberal than Mitt but again you forget that it was Mitt i was saying was the only hope.

If Romney is the nominee, will he get conservatives out to vote for Republican senate races? Not at all. He will get independents out to vote who will most likely vote “D” for senate races.

Wanna bet me? Less than 10k but i’ll put up a substantial amount in escrow to make some money on that ludicrous claim.

If a “wingnut” is the nominee, will get get conservatives out to vote? Hells yea. And when they show up they will also vote straight R on everything else.

angryed on February 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Check the numbers. you aint got em. Conservatives turned out for McCain and he is more liberal than Mitt by a wide margin.

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Rumors quickly began flying that, in order to hold on to the seat, the Democrats might want to go with somebody carrying a proven track record as a winner.

Honestly, floating a Kerrey candidacy was a Hail Mary for the Nebraska Dems, because for whatever reason they haven’t groomed anyone to challenge at the national level. I think they thought Nelson was just going to be in office forever.

HuskerNate on February 7, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Kerrey, who moved to New York City after giving up his seat in 2001, spent nearly a week in Nebraska last month to seek advice about whether to run in a state that has drifted ideologically away from him since he left.

Heh. After spending 11 years in New York City as the head of a fringe-lefty college, he spent “nearly a week in Nebraska” and decided no, that won’t do. Too funny.

Jaibones on February 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM

As a native Nebraskan: this was absolutely the last shot the Democrats had at holding the seat. The three most prominent Democrats remaining in the state (aside from Nelson) are the mayors of Lincoln and Omaha (both nearing 70, presiding over divided electorates and carry little appeal west of Lincoln) and two time loser Hastings College lecturer Scott Kleeb.

Barring massive scandal for the GOP nominee (likely AG Jon Bruning), the Democrat won’t crack 40 in the general election and probably will struggle to hit 35%.

LukeinNE on February 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I should add that Kerrey was a long shot anyway like HuskerNate and others have said. He’d have likely been (correctly) viewed as an east coast liberal carpetbagger and lost decisively anyway. I still prefer the automatic win though.

LukeinNE on February 7, 2012 at 5:01 PM

And I’m supposed to care about this why?

ToddPA on February 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Because Kerrey’s a liberal POS. And his participation in the 9/11 Commission helped whitewash the roles of Gorelick et al.

rayra on February 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM

ok, Rs pick up NE, MT..good.

MO, PA are looking not good…no one to run

VA party of stupid will run who? The macaca guy again?..so WaPo just recycles its 100s of anti-Allen stuff..easy pickins for the dims

Funny how the state parties really have no deep benches…i mean hardly any bench at all. Sure they may have a small time local pol that is well known a county…but no state-wide orgs.

So McCaskill can sweet talk her way into term 2…Casey will waltz in unopposed, and the former grease ball DNC head will be VA

great.

i’m hoping for a 50/50 senate, but i may be optimistic. Reid/Obama…no budget for another 4 years. let’s just say Obama is the head honcho of the entire US….these opposition parties are such an annoyance

r keller on February 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Kerry know he doesn’t stand a chance…

OmahaConservative on February 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Alltime fave Kerrey Quote…

Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) “Clinton’s an unusually good liar. Unusually Good. Do you realize that?”

Del Dolemonte on February 7, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Kerry know he doesn’t stand a chance…

OmahaConservative on February 7, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Not with having a good canidate running this time unlike Ricketts.

Sultanofsham on February 7, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Del Dolemonte on February 7, 2012 at 5:48 PM

I thought his “she swept me off my foot” was pretty clever. He was a pretty charming politician in his day.

LukeinNE on February 7, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Nah, they’ll figure out a way to muck it up.

JPeterman on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I think in SPITE of them mucking it up, the Senate will swing a minimum of 7 seats to the GOP, regardless who is at the top of the ticket.

The electorate is still outraged about the spending, and all races are pretty local as well as the GOP competitors can just keep running ads reminding the voting public of the Dem Senator’s failure to pass a budget for over 1000 days.

Remember, Debbie “SpendItNow” Stabenow.

Pete “SpentItNot” Hoekstra will beat her easily in a BLUE state.

karenhasfreedom on February 7, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Bob turned to prayer?

Whew…good luck for us that member of the Bible-clinging American Taliban isn’t going to run for office. Christians want to create a Christo-Fascist society….at least that’s what I remember hearing back during Dubya’s tenure.

Bishop on February 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Well he really didn’t mention who he was praying to…

Bunsin2 on February 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM

I think old Bob is the one who’s done the “ideological drifting” since he left Nebraska. Wish Scott Kleeb would try to run again. “Vote for me! My crazed, talks-out-of-both-sides-of-her-mouth wife, Jane Fleming Kleeb, was one of the chief rabble-rousers stirring up unfounded controversy over the Keystone Pipeline! We’re *winners*!”

Cornhusker on February 7, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Theres not a doubt in the world that the Senate and House will be ruled by the GOP. The only thing that can stop it are the establishment RINOS. If they think the Tea Party is dead then they will become a third party. The Tea Party is not a party, but an American spirit among the people who have had enough of the liars and thieves in both parties who masquerade as poiliticians. Those who even hint the Tea Party movement is dead is delusional. Control Congress, you control the president, no matter who or what he/she is. Flush the RINOs, save America.

volsense on February 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Bye!

esnap on February 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM

While he was Governor of Nebraska, Kerrey dated actress Debra Winger while the latter was in Lincoln filming Terms of Endearment (part of which is set in Nebraska), which won the 1983 Oscar for Best Picture. When confronted with intense questioning by the press over the nature of the relationship, Kerrey famously replied; “What can I say – she swept me off my foot”

playblu on February 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Speaking as a born & bred Nebraskan, and one who used to run into you jogging at the Y and on the grounds of the state capitol, I would advise you to stay in New York, governor. My family reports that we are doing just fine without you, and the Democrat party is not held in terribly high esteem under the present radical socialist regime.

minnesoter on February 7, 2012 at 9:31 PM

red wave 2012 as long as the wingnuts dont ruin it with a Newt or Santorum nomination. those 2 will kill down-ticket elections while Romney would boost them, creating a more conservative congress.

lets see if the right gets smart and accepts Mitt or if they keep moaning all the way to the missed opportunity box (2012 redux)

Drunk Report on February 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I fail to see how Santorum “kills” down-ballot candidates, but super-duper moderate Romney enhances them.

Bitter Clinger on February 7, 2012 at 10:22 PM