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Kerrey Reconsiders Bid for 3d Term

January 7, 2000

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey says he’s reconsidering whether to run for a third term because he has received a job offer in New York City.

A decision by Kerrey not to run could hurt Democrats hoping to regain control of the Senate.

Kerrey declined to reveal details of the job offer, but the New York Daily News reported today that he has been asked to be president of the New School University.

``We have several candidates,″ university spokeswoman Carmen Ashhurst said when asked about the report. ``We have not discussed who the candidates are.″

Kerrey said a year ago that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for president because he intended to concentrate on another run for the Senate, where Republicans hold a 55-45 majority.

``I’m very happy doing what I’m doing, but this offer unexpectedly came my way,″ he said Thursday. ``It provoked interest that surprised me and caused me to do a little more thinking about what I want to do. Do I want to continue to serve in the Senate from age 57 to 63?″

Kerrey said he will make a decision as soon as possible, especially if he decides not to seek a third term.

Jody Ryan, a spokeswoman in Kerrey’s Washington office, said Kerrey would decide before Nebraska’s Feb. 15 deadline for incumbents to file for re-election. Challengers must file by March 1.

``He’s now spending time in Nebraska, speaking to friends and family, and is exploring some options,″ she said.

Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Anne Boyle said she expected a decision by the end of next week.

Kerrey has formed close ties in New York, the home of girlfriend Sara Paley, a former writer for ``Saturday Night Live,″ the Daily News reported.

Bill Avery, a local Democratic leader in Nebraska and a University of Nebraska-Lincoln political science professor, said he didn’t think the relationship would be a strong deciding factor.

Kerrey is the lone remaining Democrat holding a major statewide office in Nebraska and is viewed as a strong favorite to win re-election.

No other Democrats have filed to run for the Senate seat, but two Republicans, Attorney General Don Stenberg and Lincoln physician Elliott Rustad, are challenging.

Boyle said names of potential Democratic candidates being tossed around include former representatives John Cavanaugh and Peter Hoagland; Bill Hoppner, who unsuccessfully ran for the governor last year; and former Gov. Ben Nelson.

Kerrey was elected governor in 1982 and became a senator in 1988. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992.

Jonathan Fanton resigned in September after 17 years as president of the New School University, formerly called the New School for Social Research.