- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Former Sen. Bob Kerrey said Wednesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for the Nebraska seat he once held, reversing course just weeks after publicly opting out of the race.

Mr. Kerrey‘s announcement comes after he earlier this month rejected a run to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, saying that not getting into the race was in his and his family’s best interest. It’s also just one day before Nebraska’s candidate filing deadline.

“It just felt wrong. I wasn’t happy with the decision,” Mr. Kerrey, 68, said of his earlier announcement during a telephone call to declare his candidacy.

The latest decision from Mr. Kerrey, a 1992 presidential candidate and former Nebraska governor, gives new hope to national Democrats desperate to stop Republicans from netting four Senate seats this fall and regaining control of the chamber.

But it’s also sure to create state-party friction, starting with fellow Democrat Chuck Hassebrook. Mr. Hassebrook stepped into the race after Mr. Kerrey bowed out, giving up a chance to run again for a University of Nebraska regent seat he’s held for nearly 18 years, and has said Mr. Kerrey promised as late as last Friday to help Mr. Hassebrook win election.

Mr. Kerrey‘s turnaround is the latest lurch in what has been a roller-coaster ride for Nebraska Democrats since Mr. Nelson surprised the party in December by announcing he would not seek a third term this year.

Mr. Kerrey said soon after that he would consider running for the seat he held from 1989 to 2000, and he made a six-day visit to Nebraska to consult friends and family about a run. It was weeks before Mr. Kerrey initially demurred, and another three before he announced that he had changed his mind again.

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