Ben Nelson

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Ben Nelson, 38th Governor and current Senator of Nebraska

Earl Benjamin Nelson (born May 17, 1941 in McCook, Nebraska) is an American politician from Nebraska, where he was born and has lived for most of his life. He was an attorney and insurance executive before being elected governor as a Democrat in 1990, and was easily reelected in 1994. He left the office in 1999 after two terms, not running for reelection and being succeeded by Republican Mike Johanns. He ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1996 but was defeated by Republican Chuck Hagel. However, he was again nominated by the Democrats for the Senate in 2000 after his fellow Democrat, incumbent Bob Kerrey, announced his retirement. Nelson won that election, and is now among the leading moderate Democrats in the Senate.

Nelson earned a BA (1963), MA (1965), and JD (1970) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

On May 23, 2005, Nelson was one of fourteen moderate senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus blocking the Republican leadership's attempt to implement the so-called "nuclear option". Under the agreement, the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate. Subsequently, he was the only Democratic senator to vote in favor of Brown. He also has voted twice, with three other Democrats, to end senate debate over President Bush's UN Ambassador nominee John Bolton. Votes such as these, as well as conservative votes on many cultural- and business-related matters, have often placed Nelson, perceived by most political observers as a moderate conservative, at odds with the leadership of his party. [1] ( [2] (

Views on Abortion

Nelson is one of several Democrats in the Senate (including Harry Reid of Nevada) with an anti-abortion voting record. Nelson is a member of the Democrats for Life of America, a national organization for pro-life members of the Democratic party that advocates a 95% reduction in the number of abortions performed over the next 10 years. Despite his abortion stance often being compared to that of Minority Leader Reid, Reid has arguably taken a more moderate position on the issue than has Sen. Nelson, whose views on the subject are more in keeping with some of the Senate's anti-abortion Republicans. Nelson, unlike Reid, opposed legislation put forth by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton that aimed to reduce the number of abortions by making more available sex education and contraceptives, putting Nelson in the same column as many conservative Republicans.

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Preceded by:
Kay A. Orr
Governor of Nebraska
Succeeded by:
Mike Johanns
Preceded by:
J. Robert Kerrey
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
2001 –
Succeeded by:

Template:End box Template:NE-FedRep Template:Current U.S Senators


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