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It had been widely assumed that if Dave Heineman jumped into the race to succeed Mike Johanns in the Senate, the race would be over before it started.  Well, earlier today the Nebraska governor announced he won't be running to succeed his former boss (Heineman was lieutenant governor while Johanns was governor).

"After careful consideration of all of the issues involved in a race for the United States Senate, I have decided to keep my focus on being the best governor that I can for the citizens of Nebraska," Heineman said in the release. "Every day, I enjoy the challenges and opportunities of being the governor of the best state in America."

After Johanns, 62, announced in February he would not seek re-election in 2014, Heineman had said he'd consider a run.

"I don't think I've ever indicated that being in the Senate is my dream job," Heineman said in February. "But, obviously, I have to look at it."

Heineman was wooed by national Republicans to run in 2011, but he opted out then as well, saying he preferred to finish his term as governor.

Heineman said in the release a U.S. Senate run would distract from his priorities as governor.

Heineman went into more detail in a press conference this morning, saying that he'd talked to several other senators who had once been governors, and they all told him that they were rankled by the snail's pace of how things move in Washington.  Watch here:

Even with Heineman out, this is going to be a tough, tough, tough race.   But a small chance is better than no chance at all--if any Democrats want to step up to run here, they'd better move quick.

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