Ben Nelson to Retire, Reimburse DSCC for Ads
After 11 years representing Nebraska in the U.S. Senate, Ben Nelson announced in December that he would retire at the end of his term. That may have come as a surprise to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which sank more than $1.5 million into TV and radio ads promoting the senator in 2011. But all these funds were not wasted, as Nelson is giving the DSCC at least some of its money back. Nelson told Politico that he has already returned $500,000 to the group—and said he may reimburse it for more. Following the DSCC's ad campaign for Nelson, the Nebraska GOP filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee, arguing that they were badly disguised campaign ads. Now that the money has been returned, it can be used to bolster former senator Bob Kerrey's bid to hold Nelson's seat for the Democrats, or for other candidates.
DCCC Recruits Former Republican for Michigan Run
Joe Schwarz is being recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to challenge Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in the Michigan primary. Schwarz bested Walberg once before, in the 2004 GOP primary contest, and went on to hold the seat for a term before losing to Walberg in a rematch two years later. Schwarz says he considers himself an independent now, but was "flattered" by the DCCC's interest, saying, "I do think I would be the strongest candidate to take him on." Still, he hasn't committed to another congressional bid just yet, noting that he's teaching classes at the University of Michigan and practicing medicine, among other engagements. Walberg, for his part, isn't particularly concerned about a third contest, saying that their rivalry is in the past.
Former Maine Governor Baldacci Won't Run for Snowe's Seat
Former Maine governor Angus King's campaign for Olympia Snowe's soon-to-be-open Senate seat just got a boost with the news that fellow former governor John Baldacci will not join the race. Baldacci said that despite feeling "very compelled" to run, he couldn't uproot his family. "Maine is our home," he said. A survey released by Public Policy Polling last week found King—an independent who is relatively unknown outside his home state—leading Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree and Maine's Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers in the contest.