FreedomWorks Switches Endorsement in Nebraska Senate Race

Sunday, 30 Mar 2014 04:00 PM

By Greg Richter

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FreedomWorks PAC has rescinded its endorsement of Shane Osborn in a Nebraska Republican Senate primary and handed the endorsement to his rival, Ben Sasse, Politico reports.

Osborn and Sasse meet in a May 13 primary to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Mike Johanns. The winner is expected to easily win in November.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said in a statement that Osborn has "formed allegiances with Mitch McConnell and the K Street lobbying class." Establishment Republicans have sided with Osborn because of his higher name recognition.

Osborn, 39, is a former state treasurer and Navy pilot. Sasse, 42, is president of Midland University and served as an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush.

"Both Osborn and Sasse are great people, and this was not a decision taken lightly," Kibbe said. "The question at the heart of this decision is, who would caucus with the Freedom Caucus, and who would fall in line with the establishment?"

Osborn was not happy.

"FreedomWorks has decided to endorse a candidate who they have attacked for months over his lack of conservatism and record of championing big government policies," he said in a statement. "Sasse is selling himself as the Obamacare nemesis, but nothing could be further from the truth."

Earlier in the week, Osborn told The Washington Times that FreedomWorks' endorsement was an "important one in the race."

The endorsement puts FreedomWorks in line with other conservative groups and individuals who have backed Sasse, including Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, Sen. Mike Lee, and Sarah Palin.

Osborn was forced to apologize earlier in the week after his campaign sent out fraudulent memo on Navy letterhead defending his actions in in 2001 when he landed a reconnaissance plane in China after it was hit by a Chinese fighter. Osborn's handling of the situation became an international incident.

FreedomWorks did not mention the memo controversy when it withdrew its endorsement.

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