Bruning Poll Shows Johanns With Slim Leadby Kyle Michaelis
A poll released by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) shows a close race against former Governor Mike Johanns for the Republican nomination for Senate, Roll Call reports. Johanns leads with 39% support, followed by Bruning at 30%.
"These numbers show that the pundits who say Mike Johanns is a clear favorite are flat-out wrong," said Bruning campaign manager Jordan McGrain. "Johanns is not the heavyweight among Republicans some expect him to be."
The poll also showed Bruning ahead of former Congressman Hal Daub in a two-way Republican primary, 48%-17%. Overall, the poll is a strong signal that Bruning has no intention of backing down if Johanns makes the race.
The Nebraska Senate race is expected to be a top Democratic target next year, if former Dem Senator Bob Kerrey runs for the seat. Two-term incumbent Chuck Hagel, a strong conservative who has broken sharply with the White House on Iraq, is retiring. Bruning was already running hard against Hagel in the GOP primary, citing Hagel's votes with Senate Democrats on the issue.
Standard caveats about internal polls apply, but this does show that Johanns isn't as strong against Bruning as his camp would have you believe. Don't underestimate the amount of support Bruning gained by challenging Hagel. This is going to be a very interesting primary to watch.