A former Nebraska Democratic Party official insists the race for United States Senate in 2012 isn’t over just because Ben Nelson has dropped out.
Attorney Steve Achelpohl of Omaha served as chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party from 2001 through the 2008 elections. Achelpohl says Nebraska Democrats are disappointed Nelson won’t run for a third term, yet are not ready to give up on retaining his seat.
“I don’t think the sky is exactly falling for Democrats,” Achelpohl tells Nebraska Radio Network. “In terms of the Senate race at least there are several qualified Democrats who I believe may give some consideration to coming in.”
Achelpohl mentions former Lt. Governor Kim Robak, University Regent Chuck Hassebrook, state Senator Steve Lathrop, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and former mayor Don Wesely as well as former United States Senator Bob Kerrey as possible replacement candidates.
With an election less than a year away, Achelpohl acknowledges it’s late in the game for a candidate to jump in, but quickly adds that it’s not too late. He says any candidate must move quickly to put together an organization and to raise money; lots of money. He says the national party should help in that regard and he expects Sen. Nelson, a veteran of statewide campaigns, to help.
Achelpohl considers the current announced Republican field weak, which he says gives Democrats time to catch up.
“I think it’s doable,” Achelpohl says. “And I don’t think it’s a lost cause by any stretch of the imagination like a lot of people are saying out there.”