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President George Bush announced yesterday the resignation of US Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, who has been in the cabinet post for three years. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Deputy Agriculture Secretary Charles Connerm, until the White House nominates a permanent replacement to serve the last 14 months of the Bush Administration.

Johanns is expected to run for the US Senate seat from Nebraska that is being vacated by the retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel, who is stepping down because of a pledge to only serve two terms. Johanns is a former Nebraska governor.

If he gets the nomination, it is possible that he could face former Sen. Bob Kerry in the general election next year; Kerry retired from the Senate a number of years ago and lately has been running the New School for Social Research in New York City.
KC's View:
If there are any more cases of mad cow disease between now and the 2008 election, Johanns – who famously argued that there could only be none cases of BSE in the entire US – may have some explaining to do. And, he also may have to do some fancy talking about food safety issues, which increasingly look like they could become an election issue next year.

It’ll also be interesting to see how the Senate behaves during confirmation hearings for whomever the White House decides to nominate to replace Johanns. Again, with food safety being a highly charged issue, the hearings could get confrontational.