Nebraska Republican leaders sought unity after a tough primary battle during a rally held this morning at the party headquarters in Lincoln.
Most of the Republican candidates, both winners and losers, attended the event to demonstrate party strength as the political campaigns now shift to the general election.
Republican nominee for the United States Senate Ben Sasse tipped his hat to his competitors in the primary during the rally.
“This race was spirited and I had the chance to run against and learn from three extraordinary men,” Sasse said, praising each one by name.
Sasse ran away with the race, getting nearly 50% of the vote.
Unofficial totals from the Secretary of State’s office had Sasse with 109,810 votes, 49.36% of the total cast in the race.
Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale received 49,817 votes, 22.39%. Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn got 46,845 votes, 21.06%. Omaha lawyer Bart McLeay garnered 12,696 votes, 5.71%. Clifton Johnson received 3,285 votes, 1.48%.
Gov. Dave Heineman told Republicans the competition of the primaries is good for the party, making it grow and move forward.
Still, Heineman acknowledged some candidates are hurting after the primaries, especially since all are friends.
And, in a joking manner, Heineman stated they all share many of the same views on the issues.
“This was a tough job for reporters. They couldn’t figure out what the differences were. You won’t have any problem in the general election, let me assure you,” Heineman stated to laughter in the crowd.
Sasse will face Democrat Dave Domina in the race for United States Senate.
Pete Ricketts will run against Democrat Chuck Hassebrook in the race for governor after narrowly defeating Attorney General Jon Bruning the Republican gubernatorial primary.
Ricketts thanked his competitors at the rally, noting they all called with congratulations after the votes came in.
“Each and every one of these guys said congratulations, I’m there with you, especially Jon, I really appreciate your phone call last night where you were absolutely definitive about that,” Ricketts said to Bruning seated in the crowd. “That is the kind of teamwork we have here in the Republican Party. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Ricketts defeated Bruning by just over 2,000 votes; 26% to 25%.
Unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office had Ricketts with 57,922 votes, 26.48% of the total. Bruning finished with 55,571, 25.49%. State Sen. Beau McCoy came in third with 45,804 votes, 20.94%. Auditor Mike Foley finished fourth with 42,029 votes, 19.22%. State Sen. Tom Carlson won 9,034 votes, 4.13%. Omaha tax attorney Bryan Slone received 8,179 votes, 3.74%.
AUDIO: Nebraska Republican Party unity rally at party headquarters in Lincoln. [30 min]