(CNN) – Former Sen. Bob Kerrey said Tuesday that he won't run for the open Senate seat in Nebraska that he once held, deflating Democrats hopes of keeping the seat in party hands.
"I have given the decision of becoming a candidate for the U.S. Senate very serious thought and prayer. For many reasons I nearly said yes. In the end I choose to remain a private citizen," said Kerrey in a statement. "To those who urged me to do so, I am sorry, very sorry to have disappointed you. I hope you understand that I have chosen what I believe is best for my family and me."
Washington (CNN) - A leading conservative grassroots organization is taking sides in the Republican Senate primary fight in Nebraska, in the battle to try and defeat Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson next year.
CNN has learned that FreedomWorks will endorse state Treasurer Don Stenberg, one of two well established candidates making a bid for the Senate nomination. Stenberg, who launched his campaign in March, is a former Nebraska attorney general and the GOP's 2000 Senate nominee in the state. He is making his fourth run for the Senate.
Washington (CNN) – Already, things are getting ugly.
In a preview of what'll likely be a bruising bout of political combat, the Tea Party Express and Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson's campaign began trading barbs on Wednesday.
Washington (CNN) - As the Tea Party Express gears up to reveal what it's calling a "surprise" endorsement Wednesday, CNN has learned who will receive the group's first Senate endorsement for the 2012 cycle.
The Express will endorse Nebraska's Republican Attorney General Jon Bruning in the race to unseat Sen. Ben Nelson - the state's most powerful Democrat.
Washington (CNN) – Two days before The Tea Party Express reveals what it's called a major "surprise endorsement" for the 2012 races, the group has provided details to CNN.
On Monday, Tea Party Express National Spokesman Levi Russell said that its Senate endorsement – their first for the upcoming political cycle - will focus on Nebraska. The group will officially reveal the recipient of its endorsement at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday.
(CNN) - Another Republican has announced his intent to run against Nebraska Democratic Senator Ben Nelson in 2012– and he is hoping the fourth time is the charm.
Don Stenberg, the current Nebraska State Treasurer, announced Tuesday that he intends to run for the Senate seat currently occupied by Nelson. The Nebraska Attorney General, Republican Jon Bruning, announced his bid for the seat last month. Businessman Pat Flynn is also running for the GOP nomination.
Washington (CNN) - Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is not afraid to buck his party when it comes to fiscal issues.
The Nebraskan did it again this week, voting against a bill extending unemployment insurance benefits to millions of Americans. The bill passed Wednesday with the help of a couple of Repubican votes. It now goes to the House where it is expected to pass.
The extension, which lapsed in June, failed in an earlier Senate vote after a Republican filibuster.
In this week's votes, Nelson insisted that Democrats find a way to pay for the extension of benefits. He said there are some stimulus funds that could be used - an idea that Republicans back.
"I'm comfortable with my own decision on this," he said. "I made it clear what I think needs to be done." Nelson told CNN.
(CNN) - Most people following the primaries are a lot more excited about the races coming up next week than those taking place on Tuesday.
Will Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln lose in Arkansas? Can Sen. Arlen Specter survive his first Democratic primary? Will newcomer Rand Paul upset the establishment and win Kentucky's Republican Senate race? Will the anti-incumbent fervor take hold of voters and wipe out Congress as we know it?
Those questions can wait.
Before you get too overwhelmed with anticipation, take a minute to check out the contests taking place this week.
Here are three things to watch in Tuesday's contests in Nebraska, West Virginia and Georgia.