An anti-gay long-term Republican has just announced he will will not seek re-election and will retire from the U.S. Senate after his term concludes next year. Senator Mike Johanns, Republican from Nebraska, made the announcement today. Johanns, who has come out publicly against same-sex marriage, affirmative action, also served Nebraska as governor for two terms, where he did announce support for the Equal Rights Amendment for women.
Johanns ran for the U.S. Senate on an anti-gay platform, promising Nebraska voters he would “defend traditional marriage.”
The 2008 California Supreme Court decision that paved the way for 18,000 same-sex couples to marry, until voters passed Prop 8, was reportedly a boon for Johanns’ campaign.
“With last week’s ruling by the California Supreme Court recognizing gay marriage as a right that can not be replaced by domestic partnerships or civil unions, you could practically hear the shouts of jubilation from Mike Johanns, the Nebraska Republican Party, and every other Republican candidate looking at a tough race this November,” Kyle Michaelis of the New Nebraska Network reported in 2008:
After last week’s primary, Johanns talked about defending “traditional marriage” three different times in his victory speech. With this, Johanns made his intent perfectly clear to base his Senate campaign on the same old divisive cultural issues his party has relied upon for 15 years because he has so little to offer voters in the way of vision or ideas for the future.
Still, Johanns had to be delighted just two days later when this court decision in California gave new relevance to the debate over gay marriage, an easy issue for Johanns to exploit all the way through the November election. And, no one should have any doubt that’s precisely what we’ll be seeing – not only from Johanns but from every desperate candidate who’d rather score cheap political points than address the real problems faced by the people of Nebraska.
Johanns resigned as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Agriculture to run for the Senate seat he now holds, which he won after Chuck Hagel chose to not seek another term in 2008.
Johanns was one on jut 22 GOP Senators, all male, who voted against the Violence Against Women Act.
The opening might allow a Democrat, perhaps Bob Kerrey, to take the seat.
2014 SEN retirees so far: Chambliss(R-GA),Johanns(R-NE),Harkin(D-IA),Lautenberg(D-NJ),Rockefeller(D-WV). 3 Ds, 2 Rs. + Kerry(D-MA)
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) February 18, 2013
Proposing Sitcom: The ex-Neb Sens. Johanns, Hagel, Kerrey, Nelson — mid-life crisis roommates in NYC. I’m working on a treatment now.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) February 18, 2013
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