September 19th, 2007
10:43 PM ET
7 years ago

Agriculture Secretary to step down to make Senate run

Johanns is planning a bid to replace Sen. Hagel.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – CNN has learned that Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will be resigning from the Bush cabinet to make a run for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska.

Two Republican sources tell CNN Senior National Correspondent John King that Johanns has informed the White House he plans to resign possibly as early as today, and definitely before the week is out. Johnanns was Nebraska’s governor before stepping down in January 2005 to become Bush’s Agriculture Secretary. (Related: Agriculture secretary to resign; Senate run expected)

Earlier this month, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel announced he was retiring at the end of his term and would not run for re-election next year. Hagel is a Republican, as is Johanns.

Hagel told CNN Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash that he spoke with Johanns yesterday and encouraged him to run for his seat. Hagel also confirmed to CNN that Johanns would be making an announcement very soon.

Among the Democrats, former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has expressed an interest in possibly running for the open seat.

A Johanns–Kerrey matchup would instantly become a high profile Senate race. But Johanns may not have the Republican field to himself. Hagel’s very public criticism of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq war had already prompted Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning to mount a primary challenge to the incumbent senator.

Now that Hagel’s not running for re-election, there are no guarantees Bruning will step aside for Johanns. Two other Republicans are also in the hunt for the open seat.

Nebraska’s generally considered to be a red state. President Bush handily won re-election there in 2004. But an unpopular war and an unpopular president could give the Democrats hope next year, even in the Cornhusker State. The state’s other incumbent senator, Ben Nelson, is a Democrat.

UPDATE: Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will resign his post to seek an open seat in the U.S. Senate from his home state of Nebraska, sources told CNN Wednesday.

President Bush and Johanns, who served six years as Nebraska's governor before coming to Washington, will appear at the White House Thursday morning for an announcement, senior administration officials told CNN.

The White House would not confirm that his resignation would be announced. But a Republican source and a Bush administration official told CNN that Johanns had informed the White House that he plans to resign this week.

The Republican source said Johanns has also told friends he will run next year for the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by fellow Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who announced earlier this month that he won't seek re-election to a third term.

– CNN'S Paul Steinhauser, John King, Suzanne Malveaux, and Dana Bash


Filed under: Nebraska
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. JR, PDX, OR

    Another ship jumper, methinks.

    September 19, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Elizabeth

    Why is the focus of a deliberate and vicious attack by a gang of black boys on a white boy spun away from the hate crime against the white boy and directed at the fact that the black attackers are having to deal with the legal repercussions of their actions? All I can say is WHAT? Any public figure who stands in support of the Jena 6 must realize that he or she then also stands in support of gang violence.

    September 19, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    How about this...

    Let's not ever elect anyone from the Bush administration to power again. Ever.

    September 19, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Jacob, Oakland, CA

    I seem to recall something about everyone in this administration giving their word, that if they had not submitted their resignation before Labor Day 2007 then they were going to be in the administration all the way until the end of the term.

    I'm not sure why Nebraska would want to elect someone with such little credibility to his name that he can't even honor his committment to the president that was made less than one month ago to stay for the rest of the term.

    September 19, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. R. Thompson Cedar Hill, Texas

    The United States does not need any more world trade nuts running around in positions of authority in our government. He's Bush-groomed and hand-picked to continue the destruction of our nation in his own little way.

    "U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns Visits Poland
    23 February 2006
    United States Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns visited Poland March 12th and 13th. The purpose of his visit was to discuss Agricultural issues including World Trade Organization Doha negotiations, biotechnology, and trade between Poland and the United States. His visit marked the first time since 1989 that a U.S. Secretary of Agriculture had visited Poland."

    September 19, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  6. Sue-Lady Lake, FL

    Why are all of these people leaving now? Don't have enough backbone to stick it out with this boy wonder till the end of his term? Isn't this a "cut and run" move?

    September 19, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  7. anon, new york, NY

    The Bush ship is sinking, and his appointees will be out of job in slightly over a yr after the next election. Being a senator will give Johanns 6 yrs of employment.

    Expect more Bush appointees to jump ship in months to come.

    September 19, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  8. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    He worked directly for the chimp.

    Therefore he is damaged goods. May his career in politics end here.

    September 20, 2007 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  9. TDM

    This is nothing more than a standard migration. Towards the end of every President's final term his staff members leave to find new jobs. Been that way with Bush, Clinton, Reagan. I would say it was that way with Carter...but he just careered most of them into the system – which led to the Hatch Act.

    September 20, 2007 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  10. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    This is a little off topic but the case in Jena centers around the fact that the blacks were charged erroneously as adults in this.They should have been treated as students like the white kids were.School administrations have the responsiblity of discipline,not the local district attorney.

    September 20, 2007 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  11. Jennifer, Detroit, MI

    Maybe this guy should think about "finishing what he starts...". He resigned as governor to take the Sec position, not we resigns the Sec position to run for Senate.

    September 20, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I believe this might be a strategy to keep the Republicans from losing any more Senate seats. I think they would lose it unless Hagel stayed which he said that he isn't.

    September 20, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  13. Mike, Wisconsin

    Why is the focus of a deliberate and vicious attack by a gang of black boys on a white boy spun away from the hate crime against the white boy and directed at the fact that the black attackers are having to deal with the legal repercussions of their actions? All I can say is WHAT? Any public figure who stands in support of the Jena 6 must realize that he or she then also stands in support of gang violence.

    Posted By Elizabeth : September 19, 2007 5:07 pm
    ------------

    Clearly you havent read the FULL story. The attack was in response to a that white boy braging that he and his friends helped attack a black boy also at an all white party and NOTHING was done about it! and that preceeded nooses being hung from a tree on school grounds by white boys who were allowed to come back to the school with a slap on the hand. There were so many double standards in this case, its not even funny.

    Know what you are talking about before you speak please!

    September 20, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. pat, huntington, ny

    Ah yes, another red state senate seat going to turn blue. Johanns is another Bush apostle, and due to his strong Bush connection, cannot win.

    September 20, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. Matt, Lincoln, NE

    Welcome, Mr. Johanns!, Good Riddance Hagel! Maybe we can get a true conservative in and replace the RINO Hagel!

    September 20, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Okay, so he leaves on job to take another, then leaves the other job to take another. IF (a mighty big word) IF he wins, how long before he leaves to take another another job??

    I don't know about any one here but based on my experience in interviewing prospective job candidates, job-hopping is frowned upon.

    September 20, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. J Houston, TX

    Ah yes, another red state senate seat going to turn blue. Johanns is another Bush apostle, and due to his strong Bush connection, cannot win.

    Blue? Red? I thought we were all Americans. Shouldn't either individual simply...represent his constituents? Political parties have destroyed America, and anyone willing to fall behind and simply hate the other side is absolutely a part of the problem. Grow up.

    September 20, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Karel Omaha NE

    The real tragedy herein is the loss of Sen. Hagel's independent thought, expeience, and insight from our nation's service. We should be asking him to further detail his reasons for leaving (off the record if necessary), and then try to fix whatever drove him away. There are all too few public servants truly engaged in the interests of the public, and Sen. Hagel was one of the most dynamic. I hope we have not seen or heard the last of him.

    September 20, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.