We JUST received word that NE-1 Rep. Jeff Fortenberry will NOT run for Senate and will run for re-election to the House.
Where does that leave Governor Dave Heineman?
Calling Cosmic Bob
The hot U.S. Senate campaign news in Nebraska on Friday went like this:
- Steve Lathrop is IN (maybe)
- Jeff Fortenberry is IN (maybe)
- Bob Kerrey is IN (maybe)
- Dave Heineman is…still thinking about it.
And that pretty much sums up the Senate race right now.
With all the conjecture going on, everyone is STILL looking to Dave Heineman to make a final decision. And you can bet the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is on his tail as well.
Because it will work like this: If Governor Dave gets in, Fort doesn’t run and Kerrey doesn’t run. Lathrop may run, figuring it’s a sure loss, but a gain for his 2014 Governor’s campaign.
As Don Walton noted, and most others note when you really press them, it doesn’t seem like Heineman really wants to get in. If he did, he would probably already be in.
That’s not to say that he cannot be convinced though. And the convincing could go like this:
If he gets in, he wins, most likely in an easy General race against a sacrificial lamb chop.
If he doesn’t get in, all bets are off. (Well, actually, the heavy betting would begin, but there isn’t a old saying like that…) And maybe the seat stays with the Dems. Because…
Fortenberry could very likely get in. And Kerrey could very likely get in.
If Fort gets in you would have a very splintered GOP Primary. The three big dogs would split the votes three ways, and Deb Fischer would siphon off some and just about anything could happen. There is no traditionally “Omaha” candidate in the bunch, so someone (Stenberg?) could make that leap.
The old CQ might look something like this:
1) Bruning vs Kerrey could give it a “lean Kerrey”
2) Stenberg vs Kerrey could give it a “lean Kerrey”
3) Fortenberry vs Kerrey could give it a “lean Fort”
4) Fischer vs Kerrey probably “lean Kerrey”
We would really call that the “old CQ”.
This is not the “old” Bob Kerrey. And by that we mean, “the Bob Kerrey who used to live in Nebraska”. He can shrug off the carpetbagger stuff all he wants, but the guy has lived in New York City for the past 12 years and ran one of the most liberal colleges in the country.
In the mean time, he is still in favor of ObamaCare and would be considered a consistent Democrat vote in the Senate. Does anyone think that is what Nebraskans want? A transplanted New Yorker who will carry water for Harry Reid?
With that in mind, there is a strong argument that ALL the Republicans could/would beat Kerrey. We would even include Deb Fischer in that bunch, because IF she could win the primary, she would have have all the cash she needed for the General to establish herself. (It’s the cash in the primary part that is going to trouble her.)
Fort’s argument would be that he would be the most electable for Independents against Kerrey, and that they will likely sway the race. But we would argue that even if GOP voters decide Fortenberry is not conservative enough for them (and you can bet that Stenberg and Bruning would POUND that drum), any of them would likely have a good or maybe great chance of beating former Senator Kerrey.
But you could very likely call it a “toss-up”.
Unless Heineman was in.
Of course all of this assumes that Kerrey is as enthused about running for Senate as Don Walton is about Kerrey running for Senate.
There are the hints that “A number of friends and close political associates said Friday they believe Kerrey is inclined to seek the Senate seat”.
There is Kerrey talking about his big plans if he were Senator again and how neat it would be to work with Governor Dave on various projects.
But remember one thing folks: This is Cosmic Bob Kerrey we are talking about. He is often times more excited about the idea of doing something than actually doing the thing itself (Examples: gushing to Bill Clinton how awesome it was that both of them were running for President. Thinking about running for Mayor of New York City. Thinking about running for Senate in Nebraska in 2008)
With Cosmic Bob, do not be one bit surprised to see the following quote:
“You know, I’ve been looking at this Nebraska Senate race. And I realized, I really LIKE doughnuts. So I’ve decided to start a giraffe farm.”
And then off into the sunset he will go, and the LJS will still look to him for quotes about Turkmenistan.
And just so you know where everyone stands, the OWH reported today that Ben Nelson has $3M to give away to whomever he chooses, including the DSCC. Joe Morton said,
“After all, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just coughed up hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for television ads featuring Nelson.”
No, the DSCC spent $1.2 MILLION on ads defending Nelson. That’s more than “hundreds of thousands”. Unless you consider it all cumulative, in which case you may as well say they spent “hundreds of cents” on him.
Oh, and Bob Kerrey already said Ben doesn’t have to give him all that money for his campaign if he doesn’t want to.
ICYMI, Mike Johanns is currently somewhere in Africa. And he may or may not be sipping quinine water with Bono there.
That’s the life Bob Kerrey yearns to go back to.