Analyzing the Shake Up in State Politics

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The shake-up in state politics leaves two of Nebraska's most powerful political offices up for grabs.

Senator Johanns decision Monday not to seek a second term has political science analysts like Dr. John Hibbing calling it political game changer.

Hibbing says, "He could have been around quite a bit longer and I think that was the operating assumption and everybody was planning their careers kind of around that assumption and now that's different."

Hibbing says the key player in all this will be Governor Heineman and whether or not he decides to run for the senate seat, saying, "If he enters the U.S. Senate race full bore, I think that might dissuade a few other Republicans from getting in. If he decided not to then I think it's going to be wide open and you'll see a very large Republican field in that primary."

A large Republican field should be no problem for the party. They have plenty of viable candidates.

Hibbing says, "Just look at the state legislature. You're going to have lots of people who are term-limited out and why not take a crack at either the governor's position or the position of U.S. senator."

But for Democrats, it's a different story.

They don't do well in state-wide races, but Hibbing says that could change.

He says, "This at least opens the door a bit and there have to be some democrats thinking, well maybe with the first tier not running on the Republican side, we have a shot at it."

Whatever happens, the next election just went from cut and dry to wide open.

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