Former Democratic United States Sen. Bob Kerrey says he likely will decide this week whether to return to Nebraska and return to politics.
It wasn’t long after Sen. Ben Nelson announced his decision to retire that Kerrey began receiving emails as he traveled in India.
“I did think that if Ben didn’t run, that people were going to be emailing me, calling me and asking me to do it and I suppose that was among the biggest reason that I was hoping that he would say yes (to a run for re-election),” Kerrey says with a laugh in an interview with Nebraska Radio Network.
Kerrey, a Democrat, has returned to Nebraska from New York to talk with a number of people about entering the race. He says the biggest factor that he must consider is whether he wants to return to Washington and return to the work of the United States Senate.
He says technology has changed politics since he left the Senate. Trackers stalk a candidate’s every move, hoping to find a gesture, a comment, a mistake that can be posted on YouTube and used against the candidate by his opponent.
Super PACs also play a larger role as millions in expenditures flow into a campaign by parties independent of candidates. Kerrey has already been the target of American Crossroads, the Super PAC run by conservative activist Karl Rove. The ad suggests Kerrey would be a carpetbagger if he returned to Nebraska and ran for Senate. [Click here for link to American Crossroads ad] It’s a suggestion Kerrey laughs off. It also prompted Kerrey to write Rove an invitation to come to Nebraska for a meal at Omaha-based Grandmothers Restaurant, with a location in Lincoln, or work out with him at a Prairie Life Fitness center, a firm in which Kerrey also holds an interest.
Kerrey says the time in New York both helps and hurts him. He says his time running the New School in New York taught him how to handle a $300 million budget. He served as president from 2001 to 2010 and became President Emeritus in 2011. He lived in New York at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which he says changed his perspective.
The two biggest issues facing America, according to Kerrey, is the $15 trillion federal debt and the decline in the living standards of the Middle Class.
Kerrey says he’s close to making a decision on whether to enter the race.
“It’s moving. It’s flattering. It’s an honor to have people say, ‘We hope you do this,’” Kerrey says.