OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska GOP Senate nominee Ben Sasse says his campaign's upbeat tone won the day Tuesday, not the heavy spending that outside groups poured into the race.
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."
Sasse beat back early favorite Shane Osborn, a former state treasurer. The 42-year-old Sasse is president of Midland College in Fremont. He also outpaced Omaha banker Sid Dinsdale, businessman Clifton Johnson and lawyer Bart McLeay.
The victory is the first for tea party-backed groups this year. Senate Conservatives Fund, for instance, spent more than $1.2 million directly on the campaign in support of Sasse.
Republican Sen. Mike Johanns isn't seeking a second term.