Posted 10 months ago
By John Axtell
Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns says he won’t seek re-election to 2nd term. The 62-year old former governor and Secretary of Agriculture made his announcement via an e-mail letter sent out through his campaign staff.
In it, Johanns says says he and his wife, Stephanie, have decided that after 32 years of elected service the time has come “to close this chapter of our lives” and to have a “quieter time with our focus on each other, our family and our faith.”
Governor Dave Heineman…who served as Lt Governor under Johanns before succeeding him… issued a statement calling his predecessor “a remarkably outstanding public official” whose career spans decades of dedicated service at the local, state and national levels.
“As a mayor, a Governor, a Cabinet Secretary, and now as a U.S. Senator, Senator Johanns has always been a leader of our state and of our nation,” said Heineman.
An attorney, Johanns was a Democrat when he was a Lancaster County Commissioner from 1983 to 1987, but was a Republican when elected to the Lincoln City Council in 1988. He was elected mayor in 1991 and was unopposed for reelection in 1995…the last Republican elected as mayor.
He resigned in January 2005 after being nominated by President George Bush to become Secretary of Agriculture, a post he held until stepping down in 2007 to run for the Senate seat being given up by Chuck Hagel. Johanns easily won the Republican primary in 2008 and went on to swamp Democrat Scott Kleeb in November
Governor Heineman, who is term-limited and can’t run again next year, is seen as a shoo-in to succeed Johanns…should he choose to run.
Despite strong urgings by GOP leaders, he did not run last year for the Senate seat of Ben Nelson…opening the door for Deb Fischer to emerge from a bruising primary and beat former Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey in November.
Johanns letter follows
Dear Fellow Nebraskans,
We would like to share with you a decision we have made about running for re-election to the United States Senate. We have decided not to seek re-election.
Words are inadequate to fully express our appreciation for the friendship and support you have given to us over the past three decades.
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. 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.
During these many years, we have cherished our time together. So as we think about the next stage of our lives, we want a quieter time with our focus on each other, our family and our faith. We are also confident that there will be many more opportunities to serve our state and our nation.
We look forward to the remaining time in the Senate. It is an honor to have served in so many ways over so many years.
May God continue to bless Nebraska and our great nation.
Mike & Stephanie Johanns