Sen. Chuck Hagel is set to announce Monday that he is retiring from the Senate and that he won’t join the race for the White House in 2008, the Omaha World-Herald newspaper reported on its Web site Friday night, citing “people close” to the Republican from Nebraska.
The newspaper reported that Hagel told Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of his decision on Friday morning. The Nebraskan’s staff learned of the decision Friday afternoon, the World-Herald reported.
Hagel, 60, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 and would be up for reelection in 2008.
Hagel, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, has emerged on the national stage as a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s Iraq policies.
His retirement means the Republican Party will be scrambling to fill his seat in 2008 at a time when the GOP will already be defending more Senate seats than Democrats.