Hagel To Leave Politics

Well, it’s official, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is retiring from politcs at the end of his term, he announced earlier today.

Hagel, a Vietnam Veteran and strong opponent to Bush’s policies in Iraq, has announced today that he will not seek reelection for his Senate seat, nor will he run for any other office in 2008, thereby essentially shutting down any rumors that he may be making a presidential bid with New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg as an independent.

While usually conservative, Hagel broke with the party in regards to the Iraqi conflict, prompting GOP hopeful and state Attorney General Jon Bruning to announce that whether Hagel retires or not, he would challenge him for his seat in a primary race.

As well as dashing presidential dreams for anti-war conservatives, Hagel’s departure opens up what will no doubt be a roughly contested seat that the Democratic Party would be more than happy to fill.  As of right now, it looks like former Senator Bob Kerrey, who is still quite popular in the state, is poised to make his own bid to rejoin the Senate.

Meanwhile, conservative voters who oppose the Iraq effort may find themselves in a lurch, with the remaining Republican candidates supporting Bush’s policies.  This may be premature, but this bloc, deenergized by a lack of preferred candidate, and perhaps in a few instances willing to vote for the Democratic candidate, could greatly help facilitate a Kerrey win.  We’ll definitely keep our eye on this contest in the future.

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