• 2014 Watch    May 13 
Nebraska is latest battleground for mainline GOP vs. Tea Party primaries

Voters head to the polls today for a set of hotly contested primaries in the deeply Republican state of Nebraska. As the Omaha World-Herald notes: "More than $22 million — enough to buy each registered voter in the state a steak dinner — has been poured into the GOP contests for governor and U.S. Senate."

In the Senate race, the frontrunner is now Ben Sasse, who has received the backing of many Tea Party and national conservative groups. He is a former health official under President George W. Bush, and now president of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. For most of the race his main opponent has been former state Treasurer Shane Osborn — but there is also some question as to whether the mud-slinging between the two of them might have fueled a late surge for a third candidate, bank president Sid Dinsdale.

In the gubernatorial race, the two main Republican candidates are state Attorney General Jon Bruning and businessman Pete Ricketts. Bruning has been endorsed by the outgoing Gov. Dave Heineman, while Ricketts has the support of such national conservative figures as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The polls close tonight at 8 p.m. Central Time.

- - Eric Kleefeld
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