Johanns laughs off party switch proposal

Don’t expect to see Sen. Mike Johanns abandoning his Republican colleagues and caucusing with the Democrats next year.

Nebraska Democrats recently suggested that he do just that. Incoming Nebraska Democratic Party Chairman Vince Powers sent an open letter to Johanns the other day urging him to switch sides of the aisle.

Powers said such a move would allow Johanns to get better committee assignments and provide Nebraska with more influence in the Senate by having a senator with the majority party.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., is retiring and will be replaced by Republican Deb Fischer.

Powers said that in the past Johanns had made calculated political moves in switching from the Democrats to the Republicans, or from one public position to another.

“Senator, the time has come for you to make a calculated political move which will benefit the citizens of Nebraska,” Powers wrote.

Johanns laughed off the proposal when asked about it during his weekly conference call with reporters.

“I’ve known Vince for years and years and years, and I would say that at times Vince can be a great comedian,” Johanns said. “He even makes me laugh, and when I got the letter I had a good chuckle.”

Johanns also couldn’t resist taking a little swipe back at the Democrats, who were shut out last Tuesday of all federal and major statewide offices in Nebraska. Come January, they will hold none of those offices for the first time since the 1960′s.

“It’s finally come to this,” Johanns said. “They’re struggling to recruit, and so they’re actually trying to recruit Mike Johanns. I was absolutely blown away by it.”

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