Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) won’t seek re-election in 2014, meaning that he will retire from the Senate after serving just one term.
Johanns, 63, and his wife explained the decision in a letter to supporters, which was released on Monday.
The senator’s departure is unexpected, though Republicans are expected to keep the seat, reports The Washington Post.
In his letter, Johanns explained:
“With everything in life, there is a time and a season. At the end of this term, we will have been in public service for over 32 years … it is time to close this chapter of our lives.”
The Nebraska senator’s retirement announcement makes for the fifth announcement of its kind since the 2012 election. Also retiring are Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).
Potential successors to the one-term Republican are state Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Yahoo! News notes that Mike Johanns explained his retirement by saying he wants a “quieter time” to focus on his family.
Along with stints as governor, the senator was also President George W. Bush’s agriculture secretary. Johanns added:
“That’s enough. We just felt, both Steph and I, that it was time. That’s really what we talked most about. We always said we’d know when it was time. And it is time.”
His wife is also a former state lawmaker. When combined, the couple has gone through 16 primary and general-election campaigns. They have also held eight different offices during their 32-year-long careers in public service.
Johanns’ retirement decision also shocked Republicans, who praised the senator for his collegiality and thoughtfulness at a time when Congress is deeply divided.
[Image by USDA (http://www.usda.gov/img/content/johanns.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]