Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is set to announce he will not seek reelection, according to sources, leaving his seat as a strong pickup opportunity for the GOP in the 2012 election.

Nelson, 70, could announce his retirement as early as today, according to sources familiar with his plans. The news was first reported by Politico.

The Washington Post reports that former senator Bob Kerrey has been mentioned and 'would instantly give his party a fighting chance in a state where Obama took just 42 percent of the vote.'

GOP contenders for the seat include state Attorney General Jon Bruning, state Sen. Deb Fischer and Tea Party favorite, state Treasurer Don Stenberg.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) has said that national Republicans had encouraged him to enter the race for Nelson's seat, but he has yet to express any interest.

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