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Nebraska Senate

Open Seat (R)

Candidates

Mike Johanns

Mike Johanns (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Scott Kleeb

Scott Kleeb (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Nebraska Snapshot

RCP Senate Ranking: Likely GOP

Senate Race:

Polling Data

PollDateSampleJohanns (R)Kleeb (D)Spread
Rasmussen9/30 - 9/30500 LV5238Johanns +14
Rasmussen7/28 - 7/28500 LV6034Johanns +26
Rasmussen6/23 - 6/23500 LV6033Johanns +27
Research 20005/19 - 5/21600 LV5831Johanns +27
Rasmussen5/15 - 5/15500 LV5540Johanns +15
Research 200011/12 - 11/14600 LV5928Johanns +31

Race Summary

GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel is retiring after two terms in office. Hagel, whose opposition to the Iraq war would have brought on a primary challenge, eventually announced in September 2007 that he would not run for re-election or for president.

Following his announcement, former Gov. Mike Johanns resigned as U.S. Agriculture Secretary and returned home to run for the seat. Those considering challenging Hagel dropped their bids after Johanns announced he was running.

Johanns was elected governor twice, in 1998 and 2002, but resigned after the 2004 elections to accept a position in Pres. Bush\'s cabinet. His Democratic opponent, Scott Kleeb, a cattle rancher with three post-graduate degrees from Yale, lost the 2006 race for Nebraska\'s open 3rd District. Despite long odds in a heavily-GOP district, he lost to Adrian Smith by just 10 points.

Johanns, with two statewide victories and two terms as mayor of Lincoln, is heavily favored to keep this seat in the Republican column.

Demographics

Population (2007 est.): 1,774,571 
Registered Voters: Dem 33.4% | Rep 49.3% | Other 17.4%
Occupation: Blue Collar 24.4% | White Collar 59.4% | Gray Collar 16.2%
Race: White 87.3% | Hispanic 5.5% | Black 3.9% | Asian 1.3%

Previous Election Results

Senate
2006: Nelson (D) 64, Ricketts (R) 36
2002: Hagel (R) 83, Matulka (D) 15
2000: Nelson (D) 51, Stenberg (R) 51
1996: Hagel (R) 56, Nelson (D) 42

President
2004: Bush (R) 66, Kerry (D) 33
2000: Bush (R) 62, Gore (D) 33
1996: Dole (R) 54, Clinton (D) 35