Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson Doomed in 2012 by Obamacare Vote

State   |   Andrew Bair   |   Jan 31, 2011   |   1:37PM   |   Washington, DC

If there was one lesson learned during the 2010 elections it was that a vote for Obamacare often signified the end of a career. The pro-life grassroots came out in full force to oust representatives who cast votes for the health care bill, which constituted a major expansion of abortion and posed grave rationing problems.  
One of the most prominent self-described pro-life Democrats who betrayed their convictions to vote for Obamacare was Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who will face a tough reelection as a result of his vote. Nelson watched his approval-rating plummet after his vote for the healthcare law. Today it stands at 43 percent according to Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies.
Pro-Life Attorney General Jon Bruning, a Republican, has officially thrown his hat into the ring, filing papers earlier this month. According to Magellan, Bruning already holds a double-digit lead over Nelson, 52%-38%. The contrast between Bruning and Nelson could not be more stark.

Bruning was a key ally in the effort to pass the landmark Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. In addition, in his role as Attorney General, he has joined with the attorneys general of other states to challenge the pro-abortion healthcare law. 

Bruning received the endorsement of Nebraska Right to Life in his run for Attorney General and for state senator prior to that. Nelson, who had previously received an endorsement from Nebraska Right to Life, will not enjoy that support if he should seek reelection. According to the group, Nelson’s vote for Obamacare precludes him from consideration.

In addition to Bruning, some speculate pro-life Treasurer Don Stenberg, a Republican, may also enter the race, and Patrick Flynn, who is on the board of directors for the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska and is pro-life, has already announced.

Roll Call Politics rates the Senate race in Nebraska as a toss-up and Politico has included the race in its Monthly 10, a list of the 10 most competitive Senate races. This race is a prime opportunity for pro-life advocates to pick up a Senate seat. In a state that is solidly pro-life, there is no reason Senator Nelson shouldn’t meet the same fate as so many of his colleagues who also voted for Obamacare.