We generally believe it is better to just move forward after episodes like Kerrey’s, but his farewell tour yesterday behooves us to address a few points.
“Oh, Bob Kerrey just loves his family too much!” raves the OWH.
Really? Let’s put this bluntly: No shit Sherlock. And by Sherlock, we’re looking your way, Señor Greenwich Village.
Of course he loves his family. He is 68 years old and has a 10 year old child. Did it really take a vacation to small towns across Nebraska and a few volleys with Karl Rove to remember that? Was he really figuring he’d fully commit to the time involved in a Senate campaign and career to leave the fam in the dust for 6 years?
Hey, who the hell knows. We never figured he’d do it just based on that. But, for argument’s sake, let’s say he was willing to do that, figuring he could balance it all.
Here is the next point, to Nebraskans and the fawning press: Kerrey discovered that he wasn’t going to be handed the seat. And worse yet, that he could lose. Was Dave Heineman going to get in? Well, Kerrey certainly could have rolled the dice on that, but there would have been a lot of pressure on Heineman to run if Kerrey got in. And even if it was only, say, Jon Bruning, you can bet Kerrey’s polls showed that his New York view of the world never really flew in Nebraska.
So, tons of work in a bitter campaign; might lose badly to Heineman; could lose to Bruning (which would have crushed him); have to raise tons of money, which you can bet is horribly distasteful to him.
And then the kicker here, peoples: Kerrey said that he figured all this out a few weeks ago! You hear that Steve Lathrop and Chuck Hassebrook (we never really thought Kim Robak was in)? Kerrey knew this weeks ago, but kept you strung along for another few weeks while the national Dems and the press fawned over him some more, while he thought Big Thoughts.
Bob Kerrey got to take his little political victory lap in Nebraska, knowing full well that this was never really going to happen. You happy now Nebraska Dems? Kerrey drunk-dialed you and you had your breakup sex. But you knew that the two of you weren’t really getting back together.
Was it fun while it lasted?
It is either Hassebrook or Lathrop for the Dems.
We lean towards Hassebrook at this point, because we still feel like Lathrop is waiting for his bigger chance for Governor in 2014.
For the Nebraska GOP?
Let us first say that Dave Heineman has slammed, locked and boarded up the door. All you can say about a Heineman Senate candidacy at this point is that there IS a door. But that is it.
The field is set then? Proooooobably. We will still say there is always a chance for a relative unknown business type to jump in within the next three weeks. But we would note that we have heard nothing on the Tom Barker front.
Let us assume then that it is the big three of Jon Bruning, Don Stenberg and Deb Fischer. Each of them had to say yesterday that Kerrey’s exit does not change the race.
Except that of course it does.
With Kerrey gone, that means Dave Heineman is gone. With Heineman gone, that means there are a fairly large swath of Undecideds who have to land somewhere. Conventional wisdom, so to speak, would say that they will just sort themselves out evenly among the three and you are back to where you started.
But this could be an unusual year. Stenberg’s South Carolina money is going to put just about anything into play. And like it or not, Stenberg’s camp has a point about Stenberg being “electable”, now that Nelson and Kerrey are out. Could Stenberg beat Hassebrook? Yes, Don Stenberg could beat Hassebrook. So could Deb Fischer — but again, unless she can raise some cash to tell people who she is, she will have a tough
road row to hoe.
If we were laying down bets in Vegas we would still, of course, put money on Bruning. The polls and his cash say to do so. But things have tightened up a bit now, and it could very well turn into a real race between the AG and the former AG.
Oh, and since the big cash is likely to be spent in the primary now, expect the MSM to tell you how tight the race is as well. The TV and radio stations just watched the huge cash trucks drive away with Kerrey’s exit. They will want to make it up somewhere.
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