No clear-cut leader in Nebraska Republican primary

by
March 17, 2014

Tea party and conservative groups have been able to pick a clear favorite in most of this year’s Senate GOP primaries — but that’s not the case in Nebraska, where four candidates, all claiming conservative bragging rights, are running.

It’s a contest that has produced a fascinating split of major political figures and key interest groups, in a race conservatives say cannot go wrong for them — no matter who emerges.

Last week, Ben Sasse, a former Bush administration health official, won an enthusiastic endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who called him “the clear conservative choice.” Her backing follows that of Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and big-time interest groups the Club for Growth and the Family Research Council.

Shane Osborn, meanwhile, has won support of Concerned Women for America, Phyllis Schlafy, the head of the Eagle Forum, and FreedomWorks, a group that has helped boost tea party candidates over the previous two election cycles.

But even Matt Kibbe, the president of Freedomworks, signaled the difficulty in making a selection, telling Glenn Beck earlier this month that despite his backing for Mr. Osborn, GOP voters can’t go wrong if they picked Mr. Sasse instead.

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