Democrat Bob Kerrey says he wrote Secretary of State John Gale, objecting to the language used in his residency ruling, because Gale raised issues that need to be addressed.
Gale ruled that though Kerrey had not established residency in the state, he qualified as a candidate for United States Senate by meeting federal requirements outlined in the Constitution. Kerrey’s name will appear on the May 15th Democratic primary ballot.
In his letter, Kerrey expressed appreciation for the ruling, but objected to the language Gale used. [See earlier story]
Kerrey tells Nebraska Radio Network Gale intentionally went into detail to give Republicans ammunition to use against Kerrey in the general election. Gale is a Republican.
Kerrey insists his residency should never have been questioned.
“It’s quite common when people are moving to find something on a temporary basis and my sister offered to put me up for a while, but I got lucky, I ran into a friend who had a guest house available for rent and I took it,” Kerrey says.
Kerrey rejects the notion that he registered to vote twice. He says he registered once, but had to return to change the address on his voter registration. Kerrey left Nebraska to become president of the New School in New York after serving both as governor and United States senator. He returns after 12 years in an effort to retain the Senate seat for Democrats after Ben Nelson retires. Republicans and certain political action groups have made Kerrey’s prolonged absence from the state an issue in the campaign.
Kerrey says Gale inferred in his ruling that he took the oath of office in a cavalier fashion.
“He inferred that somehow I took the oath in a cavalier fashion and I wanted to make the point to the Secretary of State that I have taken many oaths in my life,” Kerrey says. “I took an oath when I joined the military. I took an oath when I became governor; I took an oath as senator. I understand the seriousness of an oath and don’t need to be reminded of that seriousness.”
The letter, according to Kerrey, was written because Gale left some important things hanging that needed to be addressed.
Kerrey also contends the Republican complaint about his qualifications as a candidate was baseless.
“It is baseless,” Kerrey says. “But, you can make a charge in this kind of environment and, unless you counter, which is again part of the reason I wrote a letter in response; unless you respond to it, the accusations stand as the truth.”
The Secretary of State’s office says John Gale will not respond to Kerrey’s letter, but stands by the ruling.
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews Bob Kerrey about letter sent to Secretary of State [6 min.]