Coburn endorses Sasse in Nebraska Senate race

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), an icon in the conservative movement, has thrown his support behind Midland University President Ben Sasse for Senate in Nebraska.

Coburn told the Lincoln Journal Star that Sasse is “just the kind of person we need in Washington.”

"I had a lot of interaction with Ben when he was at [the Department of Health] and found he has unbelievable character," Coburn said. "He is a totally open and honest guy who is very responsive and very responsible."

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Sasse previously served as an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.

That position, however, has caused some controversy with conservatives in his bid for Senate, where he faces four other candidates. His main opponent, however, remains former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, and the two have split the endorsements of the main national conservative groups.

While Sasse has the backing of the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund, Osborn took the support of FreedomWorks, which said Sasse wouldn’t do enough to oppose ObamaCare if elected and cited his work on healthcare policy in the Bush administration as evidence.

Coburn’s backing will give him yet another boost with conservatives, however. And the big-name endorsements appear to have helped Sasse — a recent conservative poll showed him gaining support and about tied with Osborn.

Republicans are expected to retain retiring Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns' (R) seat easily in November.