Senator Tom Coburn, the well-respected Oklahoma statesman who’s set to retire from the Senate this year for health reasons, has his pick in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary: Ben Sasse.
“Ben is just the kind of person we need in Washington,” Coburn told the Lincoln Journal Star. “I had a lot of interaction with Ben when he was at HHS and found he has unbelievable character. He is a totally open and honest guy who is very responsive and very responsible. If Ben was running in Oklahoma, I’d vote for him.”
In addition to Sasse’s work in Washington (in Bush’s HHS and Justice Departments — he worked in the latter on counterterrorism and intelligence), he’s worked as a private-sector consultant and now runs a small college in Nebraska, Midland University, where he’s abolished tenure and worked to reform the curriculum. He’s facing off against Shane Osborn, a former Navy pilot who’s served as Nebraska secretary of state. Sasse is considered the underdog, but he was effectively tied with Osborn in the most recent poll of the race, trailing him 30–29.