Former Sen. Kerrey Faces Tough Road Back

Monday, 23 Jul 2012 09:47 AM

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Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey who once commanded approval ratings of 70 percent is now struggling to regain his seat after a decade of living in New York City. The former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor Winner is running well behind GOP challenger state senator Deb Fischer, The Washington Post reported.

An internal poll by the Fischer campaign shows her up by 25 percent but Kerrey says it’s not that bad, noting “the election today is probably 54-46, something like that.”

“I’m not sure I can close the gap. What I’ve got to do is finish the campaign saying I’ve told Nebraskans what I think needs to be done, and most importantly for me, I’ve got to make an effort to conquer a perception that I’m doing this because [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid talked me into running,” the 68-year-old told the Post. “I love Harry. He could talk me into lots of things, but not into leaving private life and becoming a candidate.”

Kerrey was pressed into service in hopes of salvaging the seat currently held by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who is retiring. The seat is one of a handful that the GOP needs to take control of the Senate.

Kerrey left the Senate in 2000 and moved to New York to become president of the New School, a university located in Greenwich Village. He has since married, had a son, and served as a member of the 9/11 commission. Nonetheless, he says he’s back in Nebraska to stay.

“The fundamentals of Nebraska are largely the same. The values are unchanged,” he said. “There’s some issues that have changed, but I don’t think the people themselves are different.”

Kerrey said that he owns businesses in the state, pays taxes in the state, and will enroll his son in a school in the state in the fall. However, he told the Post, “I don’t need to be a senator again, and I won’t be heartbroken if I lose, but I thought I at least had to make the effort.”

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