Rocket Man: Bob Kerrey’s GOP BFF’s Boost His Meteoric Rise – nee Resurrection – to the Senate Top

November 1, 2012


Can Kerrey Republicans lift him to win?

Kerrey ‘s campaign has made him a target for the new money brokers of the GOP. | AP Photo


By DAVID ROGERS | 11/1/12 12:38 PM EDT

You’ve heard of Reagan Democrats. But what about Bob Kerrey Republicans? And are there enough to push the maverick Democrat over the finish line in a GOP-dominated Nebraska?

That’s the question raised by what’s become the moderates’ mutiny: old guard Senate Republicans throwing their weight behind the 69-year-old Vietnam veteran, whose comeback campaign for Senate has made him a target for the new money brokers of the GOP.

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Just weeks ago, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel insisted he would remain neutral. But Thursday afternoon, he was slated to jump in for Kerrey and has already done television and radio spots to run in the closing days of the race against Republican Deb Fischer.

Former Senate Republican Whip Alan Simpson of Wyoming endorsed Kerrey earlier this week. Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Warren Rudman added his own video. And in interviews with POLITICO, former Republican Sens. John Danforth of Missouri and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas warmly praised their old colleague, even as they said they felt compelled to stay out of the fray.

With a 3-to-2 edge over Democrats among registered voters, many established Nebraska Republicans dismiss this as so much outside noise.

“It’s too late and too little,” former Nebraska Rep. Hal Daub said of the Hagel endorsement.

Daub, a Republican who served in the House in the 1980s, suggested Hagel was only trying to improve his standing with President Barack Obama by helping a Democrat.

“She will win by double digits,” Daub said of Fischer. “I am confident of that.”

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