Nebraska: Democratic Field Clears for Bob Kerrey

Posted March 8, 2012 at 2:05pm

To perhaps no one’s surprise, the Democratic field in Nebraska’s Senate race has cleared for former Sen. Bob Kerrey.

Chuck Hassebrook, who had been seeking the Democratic nomination before Kerrey decided to enter the race, ended his campaign today and gave the former Senator his endorsement.

I “came to the realization I would not succeed,” Hassebrook said at a press conference, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

Hassebrook expressed unhappiness with Kerrey when the former Senator did an about-face and re-emerged in the race.

“I do not believe the report that Bob Kerrey is getting in the Senate race. Bob Kerrey is a man of integrity. He told me as recently as a few days ago that he would assist my campaign,” Hassebrook said in a statement Feb. 27. “I do not believe he would go back on it.”

One candidate on the GOP side was quick to pounce on the news.

“This is Nebraska, not ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’” state Sen. Deb Fischer said in a statement. “First Bob Kerrey cut a secret deal with [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and now he struck some type of agreement with Chuck Hassebrook to clear the Democrat field for the primary.”

But Hassebrook said no deal was cut. “That’s simply untrue, and I’m disappointed Deb didn’t call to ask before she asserted that,” he told Roll Call.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg are also running for the Republican nod.

Roll Call Politics rates the race as Leans Republican. It is an open seat because Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is retiring.