Sen. Mike Johanns brushes off a suggestion by the incoming chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party that he caucus with the Democrats in the new Congress.
Incoming Nebraska Democratic Party Chairman Vince Powers, in a letter to Johanns, doesn’t call for the Republican senator to completely switch parties. Powers suggests Johanns declare himself to be officially non-partisan and formally caucus with the majority Democrats in the United States Senate.
Powers reasons Johanns would gain influence if he meets with majority Democrats and would reap better committee assignments. He also suggests that such a move would benefit Nebraska, giving the state more power in Congress.
Johanns has no plans to switch.
“There’ll be other fanciful letters from Vince. I can guarantee it. He’s a creative guy,” Johanns tells reporters in a conference call.
Johanns doesn’t address some of the insults contained in the letter, such as Powers’ claim that Johanns has been willing to bend his political beliefs in the past to benefit himself.
Instead, Johanns chooses to laugh off the letter, chuckling a bit when a reporter suggests that perhaps he should be flattered by the letter.
“In a way it’s kind of flattering. You’re absolutely right,” Johanns says. “I don’t think he intended it that way, but it is kind of flattering.”
Republicans strengthened their grip on Nebraska after the November elections. Republicans now occupy all five Congressional seats and every statewide elective office.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]