Nebraska Republicans have raised the ante in the challenge to Democrat Bob Kerrey’s qualifications to run for United States Senate.
The Nebraska Republican Party has filed a federal lawsuit, contending the Kerrey cannot be a candidate for United States Senate, because he has not established residency here. A hearing was held in United States District Court in Lincoln this morning.
Nebraska Republican Party chairman, Mark Fahleson, told a news conference in Lincoln Kerrey’s own actions when he registered to vote in Douglas County demonstrate he doesn’t meet residency requirements.
“He filed not one, but two, false documents listing places where he did not reside as his residence,” Fahleson said. “Those false filings alone should be cause to remove Bob Kerrey from the ballot.”
Secretary of State John Gale ruled last week that while Kerrey’s state residency might be in question, his name would appear on the Democratic primary ballot, because Kerrey meets the less-restrictive requirements outlined by the United States Constitution. Both Kerrey and the Nebraska Democratic Party has emphasized the requirement in the Constitution that a candidate for United States Senate simply needs to be a resident of the state once elected.
Fahleson rejected the contention that Kerrey doesn’t need to meet more stringent state requirements.
“States are delegated tremendous authority, especially with respect to the U. S. Senate to decide who can represent that particular state in the U. S. Senate,” according to Fahleson.
Fahleson insisted that Kerrey must meet state regulations to appear on the ballot in May.
“Whether in New York or Nebraska, Bob Kerrey is not above the law,” “Nebraska law is very important to Nebraskans and Bob Kerrey, unfortunately, doesn’t understand that, because he hasn’t lived here for over a decade,” Fahleson stated.
Kerrey left the United States Senate and Nebraska about 12 years ago to become president of the New School in New York. He first declined to run for his former post as United States Senator, then reconsidered, returned to Nebraska and registered to vote in Douglas County at the end of February. He fist listed his sister’s Omaha address for his residency. He changed the address the next day, using the address of a friend’s guest house in Omaha which he has rented.
Kerrey served as governor of Nebraska prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate. He made an unsuccessful bid for president in 1992. Democrat Ben Nelson succeeded him in the Senate. Nelson has declined to run for a third term, elected instead to retire from public office.
Nebraska Democratic Party chairman, Vic Covait, issued a written statement about the Republican Party legal challenge.
“These kinds of political shenanigans might be expected in New York, but not in Nebraska. Now who is playing the part of a New Yorker? Fair, competitive elections are the Nebraska Way,” Covait stated.
AUDIO: Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Mark Fahleson discusses lawsuit [11:40]