According to the NY Times, Senator Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska will not seek a re-election as some Democrats are saying. Senator Nelson’s crucial 60th vote became the one required for the passage of ObamaCare. Further, his vote has been suggested to have been bought for the now infamous “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson negotiated. The process discouraged Americans and helped to continuously fuel the energy for the Tea Party’s success in 2010’s midterm elections. The NY Times says the following:
Senator Ben Nelson, a two-term Democratic centrist from Nebraska who faced a tough fight to hold his seat, is expected to announce as early as Tuesday that he will not seek re-election, Democratic officials said.
Mr. Nelson, a former governor, had been assessing his plans for months even as he raised money and was the beneficiary of party advertising. But officials say he planned to begin informing his colleagues that he did not intend to be on the ballot in a state that Republicans saw as one of their best opportunities to take over a Senate seat even if Mr. Nelson were to run.
Mr. Nelson came under withering criticism at home for backing President Obama’s health care overhaul and also got caught up in a controversy over his demands for backing the economic stimulus legislation at the start of the Obama administration.
Update by Doug: Late this afternoon Nelson confirmed he won’t be seeking re-election, via the AP:
Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Tuesday he will retire rather than seek a third term next year, dealing a significant setback to Democratic efforts to maintain control of the chamber.
The 70-year-old conservative Democrat, whose seat is being heavily targeted by Republicans in 2012, said in a statement that “while I relish the opportunity to undertake the work that lies ahead, I also feel it’s time for me to step away from elective office, spend more time with my family, and look for new ways to serve our state and nation.”
“Therefore, I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election,” he said. “Simply put: It is time to move on.”
Republicans, who need to net four seats to take back the Senate next year, say Nebraska has tilted further to the right in recent years and have made Nelson’s seat a 2012 priority. Nelson is the lone Democrat among the state’s five-member congressional delegation, and Republicans think his vote for President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation would have weighed him down.
Nelson still could have given Democrats a fighting chance. A two-term governor before winning a Senate seat, he has shown an ability to rebound after being down in previous statewide races.
The bottom line, as Steve mentioned above, is that Nelson was going to lose big primarily due to his support for ObamaCare. He saw the writing on the wall and elected to go quietly into the sunset. Despite ludicrous claims by Democrat Party hacks, ObamaCare remains deeply unpopular with a recent poll indicating public support for the government healthcare takeover had dropped to a new low. Republicans could ride this unpopularity all the way to the White House in 2012 provided they don’t nominate a candidate who, er, designed the plan which became the blueprint for ObamaCare and thus has zero credibility on the issue. But this is the modern Republican Party and their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is not to be underestimated.