Nebraska GOP pushes forward with Kerrey residency challenge
March 20th, 2012
02:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Nebraska GOP pushes forward with Kerrey residency challenge

(CNN) – The Nebraska Republican Party will push forward in court with a challenge to the residency of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey, the group confirmed Tuesday.

Kerrey, who served as a Nebraska senator from 1989-2001, later moved out of the state to serve as president of The New School in New York City.

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Last week Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale determined Kerrey moved back to Nebraska "with some urgency" to file the requisite residency forms, but that he remained eligible to appear of the May 15 primary ballot and the November general election ballot.

Gale said Nebraska state law requires Senate candidates meet requirements laid out by the U.S. Constitution, which only mandates a person be a resident of their state at the time they are elected.

On Tuesday, Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Jordan McGrain said his group was challenging the ruling in court.

"Part of our contention is that while the federal Constitution provides the requirements to serve in the Senate, individual states certainly have the purview to decide whether or not he can remain on the ballot," McGrain said.

In the original challenge to Kerrey's residency submitted to the Secretary of State, the Nebraska GOP contended Kerrey hastily moved back to Nebraska after deciding to make a bid for Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson.

In his determination opinion, Secretary of State Gale concluded Kerrey initially listed his sister's Omaha residence on his voter registration application when he first moved back to Nebraska in February. He soon switched his residence to another Omaha address, telling the Secretary of State he was leasing the guest house on a friend's property.

In his determination, Gale wrote, "It is quite clear that Mr. Kerrey considered himself a resident of New York State until February 28, 2012, when he filed his first voter registration application with the Douglas County Election Commissioner."

Despite concluding the accusations from the Nebraska GOP had merit, Gale said he would be unable to bar Kerrey from appearing on the primary and general election ballots since the federal rules only require a person to reside in the state at the time of election.

McGrain said his group was pushing forward with a court challenge, saying, "We've heard a number of Nebraskans who are concerned in the manner in which Bob Kerrey was able to fly in at eleventh hour for purposes of running for Senate."

No matter the outcome, the effort will underscore a major element of the Republican campaign against Kerrey, which seeks to paint the former senator a New York liberal. Radio spots from the conservative group American Crossroads, which began airing last week, asserted: "A decade in Greenwich Village changed Bob Kerrey."

"We feel there's a compelling argument to get him removed, and I suppose the political byproduct is people remain informed that he still doesn't live in Nebraska," McGrain said. "It seems he's flying back to New York every weekend, and even if he won, would move with his family to Washington."

Nebraska Democratic Party Chairperson Vic Covalt fired back at the GOP effort Tuesday, saying "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."

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Filed under: Bob Kerrey • Nebraska
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Poor desperate Democrats going all the way to New York to dig up this old rundown corpse thaqt has been buried there for 10 years. Keep shining the light of this major league carpetbagger. The people of Nebraska will not elect a fraud like this.

    March 20, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    It's more like poor scared GOP'ers trying desperately to keep the guy who could win out of the race

    March 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Moderate Sean

    Truth, you are just plan ignorant sometimes....you just amaze me with the moronic comments that you make on this blog....you make all these outlandish comments to make yourself sound so intelligent, but most times you provide little or no evidence to support statements and beliefs!!

    March 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The GOP will move someone into an area where he never lived before, even across state lines, in time to qualify for the nomination. The GOP will fight a Democrat who took a job out of state and came back to run for office as "not being a resident". Typical.

    March 20, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. B

    Talk about desperate, the Republicans have never looked more desperate than they do now with the Three Stooges they are putting forth in this race..

    A National travesty to say the least!

    March 20, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. T-Man

    Bob Kerry does not live in Nebraska. Hasn't for 12 years. He does not own a house or have permanant residency in Nebraska. He didn't when he registered to run. That's a violation of the laws. He is DQ'd. We don't want him.
    Go back to NY, Bob. Nice try.

    March 20, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. T-Man

    Obviously B, you are not from NE. Don't slime our candidates with your liberal blather. You elect who you want in your state, have no problem with that. Even if Bob established real residency, I'd be fine with him running. We won't elect him anyway.

    March 20, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Wes B.

    The law says he CAN be on the ballot. It's cut and dry. I think it's an issue worth bringing up during the campaign, if I'm the GOP, but getting him off the actual ballot just looks desperate, and makes them seem like they aren't able to comprehend the letter of the law.

    It's Nebraska. Even though Kerrey is well-known there and has a better chance of winning than most other Dems, I'm sure all the corn-eaters will blindly vote in whatever empty-headed Repub. ends up on the ballot.

    March 20, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. DENNA

    Sigh. The Republicans cannot play fair. They are pulling out every nasty little trick they can find. Why don't they just lay out their plans and let the American publc decide. Why? Because we, the unwashed masses, may choose a Democrat so we can't be trusted to choose correctly. And the Republicans call President Obama an elitist.

    March 20, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    T-Man wrote on page 1:

    Bob Kerry does not live in Nebraska. Hasn't for 12 years. He does not own a house or have permanant residency in Nebraska. He didn't when he registered to run. That's a violation of the laws.

    Obviously B, you are not from NE. Don't slime our candidates with your liberal blather. You elect who you want in your state, have no problem with that. Even if Bob established real residency, I'd be fine with him running.
    --------
    Flip-Flop. Flip-Flop. I will give you credit for apparently backpedaling once you found out what the laws actually say.

    March 20, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. T-Man

    Not a flip-flop, Rudy. No backpeddling necessary. He does need to establish permanant residency. If he does, no problem. The fact remains, we don't want him.

    March 20, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    SO wouldn't ANY Democrat that actually LIVES in Nebraska run for office??? Do they really see November as THAT hopeless?! I mean even Kerrey declined to run until somebody twisted his arm until it broke. Democrat are seeing the writing on the wall I guess, especially with Obamacare coming to the USSC and front pages soon.

    Obama, Reid and Pelosi.... The destroyers of the Democrat Party.

    March 20, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |