The Nebraska Senator who was seen by many as a pivotal vote in getting 0bamacare through the Senate two years ago announced that he will not be running for re-election in 2012.
Touted as a moderate Democrat, Senator Ben Nelson had previously served as was elected to two terms and had amassed a fairly conservative voting record prior to his 0bamacare vote.
There was considerable backlash for Nelson's support both inside the Beltway and at home. The GOP alleged a series of legislative concessions were made to the state of Nebraska in exchange for Nelson's 'Yes' vote (known as the 'Cornhusker Kickback') and Nelson was jeered and heckled out of an Omaha pizza parlor within days of his vote.
With that in mind, Nelson's re-election seemed like an uphill battle for the Democrats to begin with. Former US Senator Bob Kerrey and businessman Scott Kleeb had been named as potential Democrat candidates, but both indivduals denied any interest in running for Nelson's soon to be vacated seat.
On the GOP side, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, state senator Deb Fischer and state treasurer Don Stenburg were seeking to oust Nelson before he announced his retirement this week. The three members of the state's all-GOP House delegation (Representatives Lee, Fortneberry and Smith) and Republican governor Dave Heineman were also rumored to be among the potential candidates.