University president Ben Sasse has won Nebraska's Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, giving the tea party a major victory.
Sasse told supporters, "We were never doing this because we need another job. We were only going to do this if we were going to talk about big bold conservative ideas."
The Tuesday primary win in a five-man race makes Sasse a huge favorite in November's general election, where he'll face Democrat Dave Domina, an Omaha attorney. The winner will replace Republican Mike Johanns, who didn't seek a second term.
Voters opted for Sasse, the president of Midland University who gained the backing of numerous tea party groups, over former state treasurer Shane Osborn, bank president Sid Dinsdale, Omaha attorney Bart McLeay and Fort Calhoun hotel owner Clifton Johnson.
Although the candidates largely agreed on the issues, the tone grew bitter in the campaign's final weeks.
Shane Osborn issued a state Tuesday night saying, "It has been my privilege and honor to travel the great state of Nebraska and meet so many of my fellow citizens.
"While tonight’s results are not what we had hoped, I am proud that we ran a spirited campaign focused on my proven conservative record as state treasurer and my service to our country in the United States Navy.
I would like to congratulate Ben Sasse on his well-deserved victory."
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) issued the following statement on the Sasse nomination.
"Congratulations to Ben Sasse on his victory tonight in Nebraska. Ben is a problem solver who will be a conservative voice in our effort to repeal ObamaCare and bring much needed fiscal sanity to the Senate.
"Ben Sasse is a results-oriented leader whom I know will fight for Nebraska and be a great advocate for the Cornhusker State in the Senate. I look forward to working alongside of Ben in the Senate next year in a Republican majority."