Former New School President Bob Kerrey is reportedly considering a run for the vacant U.S. Senate seat in Nebraska.
The reports have emerged several weeks after Kerrey, who served in the senate from 1989 to 2001, said he would not look to succeed outgoing Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). But according to The Washington Post, Kerrey, currently president emeritus of The New School, has informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of his intention to run.
“On a stack of Bibles, he has not made that final determination,” Paul Johnson, who has previously served as Kerrey’s campaign manager, told the Associated Press.
Johnson added that Kerrey could make a formal announcement as early as Wednesday. The application deadline for senatorial bids is Thursday. But the 68-year-old Democrat has not yet released an official campaign announcement. He had not responded to a request for comment late Monday.
Kerrey’s tenure at The New School saw the university double its endowment, triple its staff size, experience a nearly 40 percent rise in student applications, and undergo a major re-branding. But Kerrey also faced criticism from students and faculty, who contended that he seldom focused on traditional academic infrastructure. A total of six provosts worked under Kerrey in his ten years at the university.
“Academics never met a meeting they didn’t like,” New School for Social Research professor Jim Miller told New York Magazine in 2009. “But Kerrey has a very short attention span. He likes to be amused and entertained; he shoots from the hip. He’s at his best when he’s at a meeting and people are sententious and pompous. He just punctures that.”
Kerrey’s return to the political arena would represent a continuation of a long and highly visible public career. Prior to his time in the senate, Kerrey served as Governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987. He also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. The New York Times reported in 2005 that Kerrey was flirting with a New York mayoral bid.