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Kerrey Won’t Run for Senate in 2008

Ending months of speculation, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) announced this morning that he will not be a candidate for Senate in 2008. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) had been lobbying the former Senator hard to seek his old job next year. Kerrey’s entrance into the 2008 Nebraska race would have immediately put the seat being vacated by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) in play and caused another headache for the GOP. Kerrey, who moved to New York after leaving the Senate at the beginning of 2001, has been president of the New School for almost six years. “I have decided that I will not leave the New School to become a candidate for the United States Senate in Nebraska,” Kerrey said in a statement released by the Nebraska Democratic Party. “The reason is simple enough: For my family and me now is not the time for me to re-enter politics as a candidate.” Kerrey’s decision amounts to the second bit of good news for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in as many days; on Tuesday wealthy San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts (D) pulled out of the Texas Senate race. Watts was another prized DSCC recruit. With the popular Kerrey out of the way in solidly Republican Nebraska, the winner of the primary between former Gov. Mike Johanns (R) and state Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) will be favored to win the general election to replace Hagel. Johanns recently resigned as Agriculture secretary and moved back to Nebraska to run for Senate. He launched his campaign two weeks ago. Bruning has been running since the spring and closed the third quarter with $782,000 on hand. Democrats are expected to turn now to either Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey or rancher-scholar Scott Kleeb, who ran unsuccessfully for the 3rd district House seat last year.

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