Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Chuck Hagel -- Done in politics

I can only say I wish this were a couple of other senators. Despite the fact that he is a maverick and a moderate like so many others in the GOP, I'd really rather not see him go. He was the least of the parties problems, but at least he knows when to call it quits:

Chuck Hagel will announce Monday that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate and will not run for president next year, people close to the Nebraska Republican said Friday.

Hagel plans to announce that "he will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008," said one person, who asked not to be named.

Hagel has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Monday at the Omaha Press Club.

According to one person interviewed, Hagel told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday morning that he had decided to retire. Hagel's staff learned of his decision that afternoon.

The North Platte native earned national recognition as perhaps the most vocal, at times angry, GOP critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

His outspokenness on Iraq and other key issues, including Social Security and foreign policy, fueled national interest in Hagel as he flirted with a possible presidential bid.

His national profile reached its zenith in March, when he headed to Omaha to hold a press conference on his political future.

But amid wide speculation that he was leaning toward a White House run, Hagel announced that he would disclose his plans later in the year.

His pending retirement leaves another GOP Senate seat without an incumbent at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to stem potential losses and must defend more seats than Democrats.

In Nebraska, the news will trigger a scramble among possible successors.

Attorney General Jon Bruning has been campaigning for the GOP Senate nomination since spring. A second Republican, financial adviser Pat Flynn of Schuyler, also already announced his candidacy.

Other Republicans who could enter the race are former Gov. Mike Johanns, now the U.S. agriculture secretary; former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub; and Columbus businessman Tony Raimondo.

Some say Bruning would be the likeliest successor for the seat. He's served in the state legislature, and was in the middle of his second term when he was elected attorney general. Furthermore, he was the first one to step forward and say he was going to run against Hagel because he had a problem with Hagel's shifty stance on the war.

He seems to be a law and order type of conservative that obviously is a hawk at a time when the GOP needs such people to fight off the continued attempts by the Democrats to end our combat operations. Pat Flynn sounds similar in many respects ( he is a hawk on the war), but he also believes that conservatives have lost the vision they once had. Mike Johanns had planned on running against Ben Nelson for his seat in 2006, but instead accepted the job as Secretary of Agriculture. I don't know if his connection to the Bush administration will be a boon or a bane for his run, should he choose to make one. Hal Daub served int he House from '81-'89, and has tried twice to win a Senate seat; the first time he lost the primary bid, and the second time he lost to J. James Exon 59% to 41%. (Exon was the incumbent).

Tony Raimondo might be a wrench in the works. He is a Nebraska businessman, and has stakes in a business in china. He was to be the president's manufacturing czar, only to withdraw amidst some clamor over his business practices back in 2004. He very well may have the money and the clout to make a run for Hagel's seat, but in all likelihood he could wind up being someone closer to Hagel than any of the other candidates.

This is a race we'll have to sit back and watch. Unlike other seats that will be hotly contested (Warner's vacancy in Virginia among them), this one could be put away quickly with the right candidate from either side.

Reid Wilson blogging over at RCP says that if Johanns is in, and the Democrats can recruit Bob Kerrey to run for the seat, the match-up will be a "battle of the titans" for Hagel's vacancy.

Publius II


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding. Hagel has been one of the biggest problems for the GOP for at least the last 8 years or so. I'm so sick of his endless carping and backbiting instead of being a team player, that I am absolutely giddy to see him go. I'm sure he's a nice guy in person and all that, but as a Senator representing the Republican party, he has been a complete disaster. The Liberal Democrat MSM absolutely loves to stick a microphone in his face, because they know he loves to run his mouth against the party every chance he gets. So long Chuck! And don't let the door hit you in the butt!

September 12, 2007 at 1:56 PM  

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