Republican strategists are perking up with today’s news from Sen. Ben Nelson, who will officially announce that he is retiring after two terms. Nelson, a Democrat, rebuffed a quiet campaign from his party’s elders to persuade him to stay and help prevent his seat from falling into Republican hands—highly likely in the Cornhusker State. Nelson quits with $3 million in his campaign coffers and a solid approval rating. Former senator Bob Kerrey has reportedly been flirting with a run once the post opens up. In 2012, 23 Democratic-controlled seats will be up for grabs in the Senate, while the GOP will need to defend only 10.
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