- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Sen. Ben Nelson won’t run for re-election
Republicans set sights on Nebraska Democrat’s seat in Senate
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, one of the Senate’s most moderate — and politically vulnerable — Democrats, announced Tuesday he won’t seek a third term in office next year, saying it was “time to move on.”
Mr. Nelson’s pending retirement leaves Democrats scrambling to find a replacement candidate less than a year before the November election. The move also puts Republicans, who already had targeted the seat as a potential pickup, in even better position to win and inch closer to taking control of the Senate.
The senator, who announced his decision to voters in an email that included a short video, said it was “time for me to step away from elected office, spend more time with my family and look for new ways to serve our state and nation.”
Mr. Nelson also used his nearly two-minute address to condemn “radicals” on both ends of the political spectrum and called for greater bipartisan cooperation in Congress, where partisan rancor has escalated in recent years.
“I encourage those who follow in my footsteps to look for common ground and to work together in bipartisan ways to do what’s best for the country, not just one political party,” he said.
“Public office is a place for public service, not personal profit. It’s about promoting the common good, not the agenda of the radical right or the radical left. It’s about fairness for all, not privileges for the few. And it’s about protecting the rights of individuals, even if it angers the majority.”
“Over the course of his career, Ben’s commitment to working with both Democrats and Republicans across a broad range of issues is a trait far too often overlooked in today’s politics,” Mr. Obama said. “Michelle and I commend Ben for his service, and wish him and his family well in the future.”
Mr. Nelson, who served as Nebraska’s governor for eight years before his election to the Senate in 2000, generally has been a popular politician during his two-decade statewide political career. But as the lone Democrat in the state’s five-member congressional coalition, his moderate views are increasingly at odds with conservatives in his state and nationwide.
The senator particularly came under attack in late 2009 when he cast a pivotal vote of support for Mr. Obama’s health care reform measure. Mr. Nelson also was derided by Republicans for the ill-fated “Cornhusker Kickback,” a provision he tried to include into the health care law that would have given Nebraska a special Medicaid arrangement that guaranteed it more federal dollars than other states.
The Democratic Party has poured a significant amount of money and resources into Mr. Nelson’s re-election efforts, banking that a victory in Nebraska would help the party hold on to its tenuous 53 to 47 caucus in the Senate.
Several formidable GOP candidates from the state government already are running for the seat, including Attorney General Jon Bruning, Treasurer Don Stenberg and Sen. Deb Fischer.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm of Senate Democrats, said Tuesday that a crowded and divisive Republican primary for the seat “will provide an opportunity for Democrats to remain competitive.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow