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Bob Kerrey poses a question to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, during his testimony before the 9-11 commission in the Hart Senate office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 13, 2004. At a dramatic day of testimony to the commission investig
Bob Kerrey's return to the Senate is suddenly looking less implausible.
The GOP's path to the Senate majority always assumed they would pick up the Nebraska Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Asshole). It was an assumption held by pretty much everyone else, despite the top-tier Democratic recruitment of former governor and senator Bob Kerrey.

Yet a funny thing has happened the last week. A spate of polls have been released showing a low-single digit race. First off was an outfit no one had ever heard of called Hickman Analytics showing a 50-45 race. Then, another outfit no one had ever heard of, Pharos Research, found a 48-46 race. But no one cared because ... who?

That all changed when an Omaha World-Herald poll showed Deb Fischer up just 49-46 after having her up 56-40 in late September. Holy crap! A new poll by Pharos continues to find a competitive race, 50-47.

Now a Fischer internal claims she's still up big, 55-49 55-39, while Baby Ras conservative polling firm Gravis Marketing sees 56-44. But I'm not sure anyone is buying it. Particularly not Karl Rove, whose internal polling clearly has him spooked. Crossroads is now spending $420,000 the final week of the campaign, a princely sum for Nebraska. That's money he wishes he could spend lots of other places.

To be clear, even if that tight polling is accurate, it will be a tough slog for Kerrey to get above 50. Undecided voters in highly partisanized states often break with the partisan lean of their state. That's why I worry whether North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp can claw her way to 50 percent, and also why I never worried about Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren or Connecticut's Chris Murphy, even when the polling didn't look great. Heck, I'm not convinced Joe Donnelly in Indiana can get the undecideds he needs, despite all that "rape is a gift from god" craziness.

But it says something about the GOP's disastrous 2012 Senate campaign that their one guaranteed, sure-fire, no-doubt-about-it pickup is looking so tenuous that Republicans have to divert resources from elsewhere to shore their candidate up.

I have no love for Kerrey, and he would be an anti-Social Security trojan horse inside our caucus. It's the reason these assholes endorsed Kerrey:

Erskine [Bowles] and I are supporting Bob Kerrey because he has told Nebraskans the honest truth about the critical necessity of assuring the 75-year solvency of the Social Security system, and stabilizing Medicare and Medicaid in a way that preserves and strengthens the needed protections for seniors and the most vulnerable in our society,” [Alan] Simpson said in his statement released Monday.

We expect Republicans to want to destroy our social net. We shouldn't tolerate it from our side.

But anything that causes Republicans to divert money away from Ohio and Wisconsin and Virginia and New Mexico is a good thing. And if nothing else, Kerrey's inclusion on this list is a potential good sign—it'll be harder for him to join Republicans in filibustering good legislation if he also votes to reform the filibuster.

Fri Nov 02, 2012 at  9:14 AM PT: Sorry, typo on that Fischer internal -- her pollster claims it's Fischer 55-39.

Originally posted to kos on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 04:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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