Report: Nebraska GOP Senator To Back Hagel

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) will support the nomination of fellow Cornhusker Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported Saturday. 

Unlike Nebraska’s other Republican senator, Deb Fischer, Johanns does not sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee, so his support will not come into play until Hagel’s confirmation is brought to a vote before the full Senate as is expected. Fischer remains noncommittal on Hagel’s nomination. The committee vote could come next week.

Johanns will join Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) as the only two Senate Republicans thus far who have endorsed Hagel to lead the Pentagon. 

Update: Johanns told the Journal Star on Saturday that Hagel “earned this endorsement,” highlighting assurances he received from the defense secretary nominee during a private, one-hour meeting.