The Washington Times - July 11, 2012, 10:09AM

Nebraska Senate hopeful Bob Kerrey is hitting back against allegations he’s a “carpetbagger” who returned to the state for purely political reasons.

The former Democratic governor, who also served two terms in the Senate and unsuccessfully ran for president in 1992, will square off against Republican Deb Fischer, a tea party favorite. Before coming back to the Cornhusker State, Mr. Kerrey spent more than a decade as the head of the liberal The New School university in New York City.

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“That allegation is playing with fire,” Mr. Kerrey told the Omaha World-Herald. “I see tremendous young talent everywhere in Nebraska. Do we not want our kids who leave for an opportunity elsewhere to come back to the state?”

Attacking Mr. Kerrey for his time away, political analysts say, has proved an effective tactic for Republicans. Polls show Ms. Fischer up by double digits. The issue took on new life recently after Mr. Kerrey’s wife, former comedy writer Sarah Paley, wrote in Vogue magazine that she tried to dissuade her husband’s return to Nebraska and seemingly mocked the Midwestern state.