But that could change in 2012. Johanns said he will support the Republican nominee, although he made it clear that he will “definitely not be involved in the [GOP] primary” and demurred when asked to speculate as to the extent of his involvement in the race. Nelson indicated he would be unhappy if Johanns were to be too aggressive and overt.
“I would hope it wouldn’t be contentious,” Nelson said. “I didn’t really participate in his election two years ago.”
A Washington, D.C., lobbyist with relationships on both sides of the aisle said the Nebraska race and others are likely to create a contentious political atmosphere in the Senate, as has increasingly been the case over the years. Particularly if control of the Senate hangs in the balance, leadership will put enormous pressure on Senators to aide challengers.
“Members are cautious,” this lobbyist said. “But if they smell blood in the water, forget it.”