In a stunning reversal, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) has reportedly decided to jump into the race for the Nebraska Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Ben Nelson, who decided to retire rather than face a tough re-election battle in conservative Nebraska. Kerrey, who said just three weeks ago that he wouldn't run, has yet to confirm his plans, although his former campaign manager says Kerrey is reconsidering. The filing deadline is Thursday. If the popular former governor and senator does run, he would almost certainly offer Democrats their best shot at holding onto Nelson's seat in November, when Republicans need a total of just four pickups in 33 Senate races to regain control of the narrowly-divided legislative chamber. Could Kerrey save the day for Democrats?
Kerrey can make a huge difference for his party: This is "a good day" for Democrats, says Dan Friedman at National Journal. "The Republican field, in which Attorney General Jon Bruning is the frontrunner, hasn't been all that impressive," so all Democrats need is a candidate with "a statewide profile and strong name ID to compete." Now it looks like they have one. It's still going to be a tough contest, but Kerrey would give his party "a second chance in a race that had been written off."
"In reversal, Kerrey will run for Senate in Nebraska"
And waffling might have improved Kerrey's chances: Republicans certainly seem to view Kerrey as a threat, says Josh Lederman at The Hill. Until he said he wasn't running, the GOP was attacking Kerrey as "a carpetbagger" for leaving Nebraska to run the New School in New York. And Republicans were pushing Gov. Dave Heineman to run when they figured they would need a heavy-hitter to beat Kerrey. Now Heineman can't run, because the filing deadline for sitting elected officials has already passed. Advantage, Kerrey.
"Kerrey reconsidering Nebraska Senate bid"
Sorry, Kerrey can't save his party: At best, Democrats will go from having no hope to, "er, having almost no hope of holding onto the seat," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Kerrey last won an election 18 years ago, and Nebraska has gone from competitive to "deep red" since then. Plus, Kerrey has lived in New York City for 12 years, and even considered running for mayor, which won't impress voters back home. He might offer Dems their best hope, "but that's a measure of their weakness," not Kerrey's strength.
"Kerrey will run for Senate after all?"