Monday, October 13, 2008

Nebraska Senate Election

Republican incumbent: Chuck Hagel (not seeking reelection)

Republican candidate: Mike Johanns

Democratic candidate: Scott Kleeb

Johanns, 58, was governor of Nebraska from 1999 to 2005, and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 2005 to 2007. He held city and county offices, before becoming governor.

Kleeb, 33, a rancher, has not served in elective office. He was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Nebraska's 3rd district U.S. House seat in 2006.

Polls cited by Real Clear Politics show Johanns to be leading this race. While the most recent of those polls gives him a 14-point lead, that is down from 20+ point leads during the summer.

Each party has won a fair number of Senate elections in Nebraska in recent years. Democrat James Exon held this seat for three terms, ending in 1997. Before that, no Democrat had done so during the entire period since statehood in 1867.

Democrat Ben Nelson is in his second term in the other Senate seat. That one was held by each party for about half of the 20th century.

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