NBC: GOP Sen. Johanns To Announce Retirement

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) has reportedly decided to retire at the end of his current term, NBC News reported Monday.

The report said that Johanns has informed Republicans in Nebraska, including Gov. Dave Heineman (R), of his decision, which will create an open seat in next year’s race. It is believed that the popular Heineman will pursue the seat that has been held by Johanns only since 2009. 

A survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling conducted about a year ago showed a solid majority of Nebraska voters approving of the job Johanns was doing. Most recently, Johanns became one of only two GOP senators to offer a public backing of defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, saying his fellow Cornhusker “earned this endorsement.”

Update: In a letter addressed to his Nebraska constituents, Johanns and his wife, Stephanie, said it is time to “close this chapter of our lives.” The National Republican Senatorial Committee also issued a statement, vowing to “an equally dedicated Republican leader” to replace Johanns in 2014.