Hagel hasn't announced what his decision will be, but he has hinted recently that he may be ready to step down. Washington Post columnist David Broder, after interviewing Hagel last week, wrote that "my guess is that he will say that 12 years of battling the institutional lethargy of Capitol Hill will be enough."
Hagel has been one of the president’s harshest GOP critics on the Iraq war. He has been mentioned as an independent candidate for president because of his outspoken differences with his party over foreign policy.
Six months ago, he held a press conference where he was expected to disclose his future plans. But he declined to reveal anything, postponing the announcement until next Monday.
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) has said he would likely run if Hagel retires. Kerrey, now president of the New School, remains a popular figure in Nebraska. He served in the Senate from 1989-2001, and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1992. His entry would make the Senate race in Nebraska one of the marquee matchups heading into 2008, giving Democrats a newfound opportunity to add to their majority.
On the Republican side, Attorney General Jon Bruning has already announced, intending to challenge Hagel in the GOP primary regardless of the incumbent’s decision. If Hagel retires, Secretary of Agriculture (and former Nebraska governor) Mike Johanns would likely jump in the race. And former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub is also considering a bid.