Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) has been the favorite from the start to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), but his hold on that mantle has always been tenuous.
First, state Treasurer Don Stenberg nabbed the backing of the influential Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund. Then, former senator Bob Kerrey got in the race and gave Democrats a fighting chance.
But with just five days until the GOP primary, neither Stenberg nor Kerrey is looking like Bruning’s biggest obstacle. Instead, the until-now-dark-horse candidate in the race, state Sen. Deb Fischer, has asserted herself and — according to politicos in Nebraska — has a fighting chance to usurp Bruning on Tuesday.
Updated at 2:46 p.m.
Former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) has changed his mind and plans to run for the open Senate seat in Nebraska, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The aide said Kerrey has called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to inform him of his plans.
Kerrey announced earlier this month that he decided against attempting a return to the Senate, citing his family.
Kerrey’s former campaign manager, Paul Johnson, confirmed to The Fix that Kerrey is reconsidering his previous decision, but stopped short of saying it was a done deal.
“I know he is reconsidering, but I don’t think he has made a final decision,” Johnson said.
Former senator Bob Kerrey told The Fix on Tuesday that he will not run for the open Senate seat in Nebraska, a move that robs Democrats of their top potential recruit in a tough state.
Democrats eyed a potential Senate comeback for Kerrey after Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announced in late December that he wouldn’t seek reelection.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D) decision to leave the Senate in 2012 clearly makes it more difficult for his party to hold his seat but may not have that large an impact on the national Senate playing field.
The Nebraska Republican primary was supposed to be a coronation for state Attorney General Jon Bruning. Instead, it has revealed some significant holes in the political armor of the man many GOPers expected to beat Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson next year.
Four years after he stepped aside for former governor Mike Johanns in an open Nebraska Senate race, Bruning finally got his chance — and a golden one at that.