WALTER MINNICK (D) v. SENATOR LARRY CRAIG (R)
Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a singular figure on the national stage, was jogging in Washington one day in the spring of 1997 with a new friend, Walter Minnick. Kerrey runs with a prosthesis because during a 1969 combat mission in Vietnam a grenade blew off his right leg below the knee. Despite his wound, he led his Navy SEAL platoon out of danger. He is the first senator to hold the Congressional Medal of Honor since the Civil War era. As they jogged, Kerrey and Minnick talked about the recent 1996 senatorial elections.
Five years earlier, Kerrey briefly had challenged Bill Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Then, like President Clinton, Kerrey was stunned by the Republican capture of Congress in 1994. When the news sank in, the Clinton White House feared a possible challenge from Kerrey or other dissident Democrats in the presidential primaries of 1996.
The White House was relieved when Kerrey agreed in 1995 to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ( DSCC). This post presumably would keep him out of the 1996 presidential race while offering a perch from which to collect political IOUs for a potential presidential run in 2000. (In December 1998, Kerrey decided not to be a candidate in 2000.)