Osborne loses Nebraska GOP primary

Updated: May 10, 2006, 9:15 AM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Football coach-turned-congressman Tom Osborne tried -- and failed -- to take down Gov. Dave Heineman on Tuesday in the Republican primary for governor of this football-crazy state.

AP Photo/Nati HarnikTom Osborne, left, lost his primary challenge to Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.

In Nebraska, with 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Heineman received 50 percent of the vote to Osborne's 44.

Osborne was initially considered a strong favorite because of his three national championships at the University of Nebraska. In his three congressional races, Osborne never received less than 82 percent of the vote.

But recent polls showed Osborne and Heineman virtually tied and Omaha businessman Dave Nabity in single digits.

"This is a tough one to take," Osborne told his supporters.

Osborne decided not to seek a fourth term in Congress to campaign for the gubernatorial nomination.

Heineman was state treasurer when he was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Mike Johanns in 2001 and became governor in 2005 when Johanns was picked as U.S. agriculture secretary.

Heineman praised Osborne late Tuesday, saying: "Being involved in a race with him is very, very difficult because I have so much respect for him."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press