He began his foray into politics nearly three decades ago, when he was elected as a Democrat to the Lancaster County Board of Supervisors in southeast Nebraska. He switched parties in 1988, winning election as a Republican to the Lincoln City Council and, three years later, the city's mayor.
His political status — and conservative leanings — have only grown since. He was elected Nebraska's governor in 1998, and during his second term accepted Bush's appointment to U.S. secretary of agriculture. He stepped down in 2007 to launch his U.S. Senate bid.
During his tenure in the Senate, Johanns has eschewed earmarks, legislative amendments that allow members of Congress to add money for local projects to national bills in a process that is often obscured from public scrutiny.
Follow Grant Schulte at http://www.twitter.com/@GrantSchulte
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.