From The New York Times
, a Nebraska Republican who is in his first term, announced on Monday
that he would not seek re-election next year, the fifth lawmaker to bow out of a
Senate that has become increasingly polarized and dysfunctional.
Mr. Johanns, a soft-spoken former Nebraska governor
and agriculture secretary in the George W. Bush administration, appeared well
positioned to be re-elected and was not on any Democratic target list. But last
year, he angrily criticized conservative groups that tried to step in and
influence the Senate election in his state. And his efforts as part of the “Gang
of Eight” to broker a bipartisan accord on deficit reduction proved fruitless.
Nebraska’s other Senate seat came open last year with
the retirement of a Democrat, Ben Nelson. And despite the return of former
Senator Bob Kerrey as the Democratic candidate, a relative political newcomer,
Deb Fischer, cruised to victory as a Republican standard-bearer.
Mr. Johanns is joining another Republican, Saxby
Chambliss of Georgia, and three Democrats — Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank R.
Lautenberg of New Jersey and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia — in
heading for the exit.
With former Senator John Kerry’s move to secretary of
state, the rash of retirements will hasten a wholesale makeover of a Senate that
was once far more stable.