After 32 years in public service, Johanns has decided to step down. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 1:08 p.m. | Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, who was a safe bet to win a second term in 2014, announced Monday that he would forgo re-election.
“With everything in life, there is a time and a season. At the end of this term, we will have been in public service over 32 years,” Johanns wrote in an email to constituents co-signed with his wife, Stephanie. “Between the two of us, we have been on the ballot for primary and general elections 16 times and we have served in eight offices. It is time to close this chapter of our lives.”
Republicans are heavily favored to hold the open seat in the conservative state.
Nebraska GOP Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited from seeking re-election in 2014 and is considered a likely candidate in the race to replace Johanns. The governor has the right of first refusal, and if he runs he would be the “400-pound gorilla” in the race, according to state GOP strategist Sam Fischer. Most other Republicans would likely defer to him.
“My guess is that he’s not going to be in a rush” to make a decision, Fischer said of Heineman.
If Heineman doesn’t run, the GOP faces the prospect of a crowded and bruising primary. “There’s no shortage of people,” Fischer said of a field of prospective GOP candidates. Full story