Former GOP Sen. Hagel backs Democrat Kerrey in Nebraska Senate race
November 1st, 2012
01:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Former GOP Sen. Hagel backs Democrat Kerrey in Nebraska Senate race

(CNN) – In the race for U.S. Senate in Nebraska, Democrat Bob Kerrey received a cross-party endorsement from former senator and Republican Chuck Hagel.

Kerrey is in a heated battle with Republican state Sen. Deb Fischer to replace the retiring Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson.

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The Nebraska Democratic Party announced the former, two-term GOP senator's endorsement Thursday.

In the battle for a majority in the upper chamber, Democrats are vying to maintain control, 53 seats to Republican's 47, but are defending 23 of the 33 seats up for grabs.

The Nebraska race is one to watch as it's become close enough that it has joined others tight races that will determine the party control of the Senate which is hanging in the balance. In the reliably conservative state, Fischer has been considered a favorite in the race but a recent poll indicates a narrowing contest in the Cornhusker State.

A poll released Wednesday from the Omaha World-Herald showed 48% percent of likely voters in Nebraska support Fischer and 45% supported Kerrey, the former governor and U.S. senator from the state. Fischer's advantage is within the survey's sampling error. The last Omaha World-Herald poll showed Fischer up ten points over Kerrey indicating the race may be tightening.

Other indications of a narrowing race include American Crossroads, a Republican super PAC, began running ads Wednesday supporting Fischer, and Fischer's campaign emailed out a release tying Kerrey to Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

For her part, Fischer picked up the endorsement of Republican senator and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain in October. The Republican U.S. Senate hopeful's team announced Wednesday that McCain will campaign with Fischer on Friday.

Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hagel's endorsement while campaigning in Iowa Thursday.

"I spent most of my career as a United States senator, being elected to [the Senate when] 29 years old, working with some great, great – as many great Republicans as Democrats," said Biden pointing to Republicans Colin Powell, the former secretary of state, and Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana.

"Chuck Hagel of Nebraska," he continued. "Who, by the way, today has gotten on a plane, I spoke to him this morning, flying to Nebraska to help Bob Kerrey, help Bob Kerrey win in Nebraska."

–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Nebraska
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Willie Floyd

    Wow! It's great to hear from Mr. Hagel. He's the only Rep. besides Gen. Powell that I have an ounce of respect for. In the last presidential race I had hoped to see a Dem. pres. and a Rep. V-P-only if it could be Mr. Hagel. Hope all is well with him.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    November 1, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. gt

    voters dont need endorsement to tell them who to vote for..

    November 1, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. cjg

    Amazing that there is a normal thinking republican and that they still exists in this "not your daddy;s GOP " Seems most have gone to the dark side! Would love to see some more moderate thinkers in this party come to the forefront. And I do not mean a shape shifting Romeny who only says what the group he is with wants to hear.
    Today he is back tracking on Fema, tomorrow who knows???

    November 1, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. McShannon

    Certainly it’s evident to everyone that any suggestion to improve a constipated bureaucracy by President Obama is unacceptable to Republicans. Yet it’s time to sit down on elected thrones with a winced face of determination and get past this obstruction and flush it where it belongs. Vote a straight Democratic ticket let’s get things moving again!

    November 1, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Omaha

    Living in Omaha, I can tell you Kerry has no hope of winning in this state! We have common sense here, Fisher will win by 8-10 points!

    November 1, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Why wouldn't he .

    Its the best chouce !

    November 1, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Marie

    I see that lately the remaining sane among the Republican Party are started to come out of from under the cloak of in-the-corner obscurity and speaking up for the principles of their party that has been hijacked by radical hatemongers and conspiracy theorists. Good for them. Tea Party and Republican, despite the attempt to make us believe otherwise, is not the same thing. One just embedded itself like a tick into the fabric of the other and has grown into an almost uncontrollable cancer that needs to be eradicated if there is to be any hope for bipartisanship and not thuggery and hostage holding terrorist tactics in our governmental process to reclaim our once great quality of life and liberty.

    November 1, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. chris16

    Thank you Mr. Hagel. How much is Senator McCain's endorsement worth? Well he did select Palin and she is also endorsing Fischer. I watched the debate on C-Span and Kerrey is exactly what we need in the Senate.

    November 1, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. California Gary

    Mr. Hagel is a reminder of what the Republican Party used to look like.......unfortunately, moderates of his ilk are no longer welcome in the GOP. What a shame........Hagel was one of several Republican politicians that I had respect for in the past.........with this batch today, the last one I had respect for was "primaried" in Indiana and his stand-in is the one telling us that God wanted that rape to happen........such is the current state of the GOP. Anyone not voting a straight Democratic ticket in this election just isn't paying attention.

    November 1, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Bob Kerrey is a Vietnam vet who served our counrty , he didn't go to France.

    Like Mitt Romney.

    November 1, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The only way to get rid of the Tea Party bunch that's ruling what used to be the Grand Old Party is for Republicans to work across the ailse with Democrats. The re-election of President Obama will shut them down and this country will be able to move "FORWARD" and when the Congressional elections comeup again, those teabaggers won't be back, in fact they will probably leave the country, we hope.

    November 1, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. truth hurts

    Doesn't matter... carpetbagger Kerrey isn't going to win. Nebraska wants to get rid of Obamacare and Kerrey won't do that.

    November 1, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Ozzie

    Both are good honest people.

    November 1, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Dan5404

    Hagel is one of the veteran GOP leaders from the days when his party wasn't totally dominated by ultra-right Tea Party extremists and people like Norquist. He has no legal standing or political office but bullies politicians into signing a contract with him instead of the United States of America, for whom they work. People like Hagel knew how to work across the aisle and is trying to renew that spirit with this endorsement.

    November 1, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. California Gary

    As for the distinguished Mr. Kerrey........he is a Medal of Honor winner........that alone warrants the support and respect of the good people of Nebraska......whatever their political affiliation is.

    November 1, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Critical Thinking

    I wonder how much uncle warren has offered him for this endorsement?

    November 1, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |