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Bob Kerrey

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Bob Kerrey
Bob Kerrey.jpg
Candidate for
U.S. Senate, Nebraska
Prior offices
Governor, US Senator
Campaign website
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Bob Kerrey was a 2012 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. Senate from Nebraska. He lost to former state Senator Deb Fischer (R) in the November general election.[1]

He defeated Larry Marvin, Steven P. Lustgarten and Sherman Yates in the Democratic primary on May 15, 2012.


Kerrey was born in Lancaster County, Nebraska. Upon graduation from Lincoln public schools, he earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1966 and then served in the U.S. Navy SEAL special forces unit. He was wounded in Vietnam and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He operated a chain of restaurants and fitness centers in Nebraska from 1972 through 1982, at which point he was elected Governor of Nebraska. He served as Governor for four years before being elected to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1989 through 2001. Most recently, he served as president of the New School in New York City.[2]



See also: United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2012

Kerrey ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Nebraska. He squared off against former state Senator Deb Fischer (R) and independent candidate Russell Anderson in the November general election. Fischer won.[1]

He defeated Larry Marvin, Steven P. Lustgarten and Sherman Yates in the Democratic primary on May 15, 2012.

U.S. Senate, Nebraska General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDeb Fischer 57.8% 455,593
     Democratic Bob Kerrey 42.2% 332,979
Total Votes 788,572
Source: Nebraska Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Lawsuit to Remove Kerrey

In late March, the Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed the Republican Party's case to remove Senate contender Bob Kerrey (D) from the May 15 primary election ballot, paving the way for a big-money, high-stakes battle that could conceivably alter the balance of power in Washington.[3]

Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale (R) had expressed misgivings about whether Kerrey, a former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator, had established residency at the time of filing, but ultimately ruled that the U.S. Constitution protected his status as a candidate in the race to replace retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D).[3]

State Republicans asked the courts to overturn Gale's decision, claiming that Kerrey had resorted to the "New York-style political trick" of filing at the eleventh hour to avoid scrutiny from election officials, but the judges ruled that they had no authority to grant relief.[3]

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld District Court Judge Steven Burns' decision that there was "no evidence to suggest that Mr. Kerrey knowingly and willfully violated any laws of the state of Nebraska."[3]

Primary results

The primary took place on June 5, 2012.[4]

US Senate - Nebraska Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBob Kerrey 81% 66,586
Chuck Hassebrook 12% 9,886
Steven P. Lustgarten 2.6% 2,177
Larry Marvin 2.5% 2,076
Sherman Yates 1.8% 1,500
Total Votes 82,225

Campaign donors


Above is a breakdown of funds for the 2012 election, according to source.

Kerrey lost the U.S. Senate election in 2012. During that election cycle, Kerrey's campaign committee raised a total of $5,818,391 and spent $6,116,555.[5]

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