With Chuck Hagel’s announcement that he is retiring, an open seat has emerged. Nebraska is a red state. I have one of the 2004 Roll Call election maps. Every county in Nebraska was won by George Bush. Only a single county was under 55%. That’s dark red.
It appears, according to Chris Cilliza that there could be a messy GOP primary and a likely former Senator Bob Kerrey entry into the race. It also appears that the state GOP is interested in pushing the narrative that Bob Kerrey is at least a little bit of a New Yorker now:
Even Republicans acknowledge that Kerrey would be Democrats’ strongest candidate but argue that he hasn’t been on the ballot in the state since 1994, and his time in New York will allow GOPers to paint him as an outsider to Cornhusker voters.
I was curious about this. So I did some digging. It turns out that Bob Kerrey (D-NE) had turned himself into Bob Kerrey (D-NY). A lot of details come from a 2005 blog post. Here are some of the choice tidbits.
First, he considered running for mayor of New York City against Mike Bloomberg in 2005:
Former United States Senator Bob Kerrey, the president of the New School University and a Democratic candidate for president in 1992, said yesterday that he was considering a run for mayor of New York City, declaring that Michael R. Bloomberg had failed to fight Washington Republican policies that Mr. Kerrey said endangered the city’s finances and security.
Furthermore, there is a theme. This guy just can’t sit still. Ran for governor. Retired. Ran for Senate. Retired. Ran for President. Considered running for mayor. Against a guy he had already promised to support:
Aides to Mr. Bloomberg said they were surprised by Mr. Kerrey’s comments. They said that just last week Mr. Bloomberg called Mr. Kerrey and asked him to head "Democrats for Bloomberg" – and Mr. Kerrey accepted.
Mr. Kerrey confirmed that conversation. "That is exactly right," he said last night. But he said that he began having second thoughts almost as soon as he had accepted.
Sounds like a guy with commitment problems. But he knew that he was committed to New York City. He said it was in his "gene code." Now, he said this in the context of 9-11, but he had switched his voter registration to NYC before 9-11. More like July 30, 2001, over seven months after leaving office.
Cilizza points out that "Kerrey’s name ID is lower than you might expect by the way." It strikes me that there’s an important opportunity to define Kerrey early. On one level he is an outsider. An another level he is mercurial. He didn’t like the Governor’s office. So he went to Washington. He didn’t like the Senate, so he ran for President. He didn’t like Washington, so he went to New York. Now he doesn’t like New York, so he wants to go back to Washington. Only catch is that he’s going to have to domicile back in Nebraska for it little bit.
Do the people of Nebraska really want to support this guy’s wanderlust?