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Coburn Endorses in Competitive Nebraska Senate Primary

Coburn voiced his support for a candidate in Nebraska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has declared his support for Midland University President Ben Sasse's bid for Senate in Nebraska.  

“Ben is just the kind of person we need in Washington,” Coburn told the Lincoln Journal Star in a Sunday story. “He is a totally open and honest guy who is very responsive and responsible. If Ben was running in Oklahoma, I’d vote for him."  

Sasse, a Republican, faces a number of other GOP candidates in the primary, including former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, banker Sid Dinsdale and attorney Bart McLeay, among others. The seat is open because Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is retiring.  

Conservative groups are divided between two Republicans: Sasse and Osborn.  

FreedomWorks PAC, a group that supports tea party candidates, backs Osborn. The Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund are supporting Sasse.  

A stalwart conservative, Coburn is known in the Senate as "Dr. No" — a nod to his career as a medical doctor. His endorsement could prove helpful to GOP primary voters in the race. The Nebraska GOP primary is May 13.  

Coburn, who has prostate cancer, recently announced he would step down at the end of this Congress, creating a special election for his Sooner State seat this cycle. The senator has declined to endorse a candidate in the race to succeed him in Oklahoma.  

Nebraska's Senate race is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.