Kerrey will run for Senate


February 29th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Bob Kerrey officially jumped in the race for U.S. Senate Wednesday.

Kerrey, a Democrat, announced to the media he will seek his former Senate seat representing Nebraska, a reversal of his earlier decision to decline the race.

Bob Kerrey announced Wednesday he will seek his former seat in the U.S. Senate. (Photo credit Nebraska Watchdog)

Kerrey served as the Senator from Nebraska from 1989 to 2001. And before that, he served as Governor of the state for four years. In an interview with Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan, Kerrey said he discussed his decision with his family, examined the polls, and decided to make the leap.

“I don’t start off saying, ‘gee I can win this easily,’” Kerrey said. “I look at this thing, and I say, I think it’s winnable. I don’t know how winnable, but I think I can persuade Nebraska that I should be their Senator.”

Kerrey added he’s not afraid of losing. “So if I lose, I lose.”

Kerrey joins four other Democrats vying for the nomination, including University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook, who put himself in the running after Kerrey initially declined.

Paul Landow, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, said Kerrey’s entrance in the race makes it significantly more competitive for Democrats, and makes Nebraska a battleground state in the fight for Democrats to retain their majority in the Senate.

“Both parties will suddenly become extremely interested in this race because there’s a lot at stake for both of them,” Landow said. “And that will cause millions of dollars to flow into the race from both sides that would not have occurred otherwise.”

Kerrey will take on a number of candidates on the Republican side, with Attorney General Jon Bruning as the presumed front runner. Landow said if Kerrey and Bruning are the ultimate nominees, it will likely be a tough race.

“Bruning, is young, he’s popular, he’s got an attractive family and he’s well known and well-liked. He’s an accomplished guy and he’d be very difficult to run against,” Landow said. “That said, Senator Kerrey has many of those same attributes, and it would be a race that would pit two popular, well-known, charismatic individuals against each other.”

Kerrey has already faced attacks from opponents, who’ve pegged him as a “carpetbagger” for moving to New York after leaving the Senate. Those attacks are likely to be stepped up as we head closer to the primary in May.

Kerrey says nation’s budget is central problem

By Fred Knapp, NET News

In an interview with NET News, Kerrey said the central challenge in Washington is to solve the nation’s budget problem. And he said he favors raising taxes on upper income people to reduce them for the middle class.

“I think the whole conversation about raising the upper income tax, or raising taxes let’s say on people over $1,000,000 or $250,000 in order to lower the payroll tax is exactly what we ought to be doing. Not as a way to punish people who are paying more, but to make sure you apportion the burden so that when you’re watching middle class incomes, you’re seeing net middle class incomes go up,” he said.

On foreign policy, Kerrey said he supports the current U.S. approach of applying sanctions to Iran, and while he said military action should remain an option, the United States needs to be very careful. “I supported Iraq and Afghanistan but you look at it today, we’ve spent $3 trillion and 6,000 Americans dead and countless others that are wounded and impaired for the rest of their lives,” he said. “And you have to ask yourself, ‘What did we get out of it?'”

“So whatever you do in Iran, you have to make certain that you apply those sanctions as much as you can and make sure that you’ve got a substantial broad coalition involved as we currently do,” he said.

Kerrey was asked about rival Democratic candidate Chuck Hassebrook’s statement that he got into the race based on Kerrey’s word that he would not run. Kerrey said he talked to Hassebrook and other potential Democratic candidates about the difficulties of facing various Republican candidates before he said he wouldn’t run. Kerrey said the other potential candidates were urging him to make a quick decision.

“I told them at the time, ‘It’s not fair. If you want to be a candidate, be a candidate.’ They said, ‘If you get in its going to be hard to beat.’ I said, ‘Look, it’s going to be hard to beat Jon Bruning or Don Stenberg. Does that deter you from getting in the race? Make up your mind if you want to be a candidate.’ It’s not up to me to clear the field for myself and it’s not up to me to make certain the field is cleared for somebody else.”

Kerrey who has lived in New York City for a decade since leaving office, said he changed his mind about running after his wife said if it would make him happy, they could manage.

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