By Joe Jordan
Earlier this year former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) strongly believed that Ben Nelson, would run for reelection to the Senate in 2012, today Kerrey’s not so sure.
“I’m not as confident as I was a couple of months ago,” Kerrey tells Nebraska Watchdog (see transcript below) in an exclusive interview. “I think (Nelson’s) genuinely trying to decide.”
Nelson is expected to announce his decision soon.
Kerrey, who has been politically close to Nelson for over 20 years, says he hasn’t spoken directly to Nelson but knows Nelson, has other “options in life.”
If Nelson doesn’t run would Kerrey?
Kerrey says it’s highly unlikely but he “wouldn’t rule it out automatically.”
Nebraska Watchdog: A couple of months ago you told me that you were confident Senator Nelson would run again. Is that still the case today?
Kerrey: I’m not as confident as I was a couple of months ago. I think he’s genuinely trying to decide. I haven’t spoken with him by the way, this is not firsthand knowledge. But I do take him at his word, I think he’s genuinely trying to decide…he was seriously considering not running a second time so I know he has other options in life and he’s really thinking about (not running) pretty seriously.
Nebraska Watchdog: So you wouldn’t be surprised if (Nelson) decided not to run.
Kerrey: Oh, in general I wouldn’t be surprised if anybody decided not to run in the current environment. It’s much more surprising when they do.
Nebraska Watchdog: If Nelson were not to run, because I’m sure you’ll get phone calls, would you consider it?
Kerrey: Oh I’ve been very pleased, in all the stories about him possibly not running, no one’s mentioned my name, I’m so happy. Leave it to Joe Jordan to be the first one to ask me. Would I consider it? I’d have to say yes or no. I guess I wouldn’t rule it out automatically. It’s not on my radar screen. I think it’s highly unlikely that I would. I went through the exercise pretty seriously in 2007 when Chuck (Hagel) announced he wasn’t going to run. It was more difficult then because I would have had to quit a job (President of the New School in New York) in order to do it. So it’s a little easier. Still I would say it’s not what I would consider being my logical career path.
Kerrey—who moved to New York several years ago—recently assumed the chairmanship of Global Scholar, an education technology company headquartered in Seattle.