UNO political scientist expects contentious Senate race; Hassebrook staying in

Mar 1, 2012


A UNO political scientist expects the race for Ben Nelson’s Senate seat to be contentious and expensive.

Former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey announced Wednesday he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for Nelson’s seat. That comes more than two weeks after Kerrey said he wouldn’t run.

UNO political scientist Paul Landow says the Senate race is likely to attract national attention because of what’s at stake. “The Republicans want a pick-up, they want the seat they feel they should have because Nebraska is a traditionally Republican state, and the Democrats want to hold the seat that Ben Nelson has had for the past 12 years. So that sets up a contest that will mean a lot of competition.”

Landow says Kerrey won’t have the same challenges setting up a campaign and fund raising that candidates usually would two months before the primary election.

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chuck Hassebrook says he’s staying in the race. Hassebrook, a member of the Nebraska Board of Regents, announced his intentions to seek the Democratic nomination after Kerrey initially said no to a Senate run.

Hassebrook says he intends to continue his campaign for Senate, albeit with a change in focus.“It means I have to very clearly gear up a grassroots effort for an election that happens in two and a half months, so it completely changes the focus and the face of the campaign.”

Nebraska’s primary election is May 15th.