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Sen. Chuck Hagel to Retire

Saturday, 08 Sep 2007 08:09 AM

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Chuck Hagel will, at a press conference on Monday, announce that he is retiring from the U.S. Senate and will not run for president or any other office next year, reports the Omaha World-Herald.

An unnamed source reportedly close to the Hagel camp said the lawmaker "will not run for re-election and that he does not intend to be a candidate for any office in 2008."

Hagel has scheduled his press briefing for 10 a.m. Monday at the Omaha Press Club.

According to the World-Herald report, Hagel told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Friday morning that he had decided to retire and Hagel's staff learned of his decision in the afternoon.

The decorated Vietnam combat veteran, 60, has been noted for his criticism of the administration's Iraq policies and his much touted press conference where he tepidly announced only that he would disclose his presidential plans later in the year.

Hagel called Bush's plans for a troop buildup to try to curb violence in Iraq a major blunder.

Hagel's retirement will leave another GOP Senate seat without an incumbent -- and should trigger a scramble among possible successors.

According to the World-Herald, potential successors include: Attorney General Jon Bruning, who has been campaigning for the GOP Senate nomination since spring and Republican financial adviser Pat Flynn, who has also announced his candidacy.

Other potential contenders include: Gov. Mike Johanns, now the U.S. agriculture secretary; former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub; and Columbus businessman Tony Raimondo.

Furthermore, former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, now serving as president of the New School University in New York City, has voiced interest in returning to the Senate. Also on the Democrats' short list are Scott Kleeb, who unsuccessfully ran in the 3rd Congressional District last year, and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey.

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