May 10, 2006

Nebraska governor narrowly wins Republican primary

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Nebraska Gov. Dave
Heineman narrowly won the state's Republican gubernatorial
primary contest on Tuesday, fending off a challenge by state
sports legend Tom Osborne.

Heineman, who was named governor in 2005 when predecessor
Mike Johanns was selected as U.S. agriculture secretary,
defeated challenger Tom Osborne. Heineman, 57, will face
Democratic candidate David Hahn in November.

Heineman took 49 percent of the more than 197,000 votes
cast, and Osborne 45 percent. Businessman Dave Nabity received
5 percent.

Osborne, 69, won supporters across the state by leading the
University of Nebraska football team to three national
championships before being elected to Congress in 2000.

The race was considered one of the biggest clashes in a
series of primaries that will set the combatants for November's
mid-term election.

Polls had shown Osborne, who had a 25-year reputation as a
much-beloved Cornhusker coach, and Heineman, former state
treasurer and lieutenant governor, running neck and neck into
election day. Thousands of Democrats changed their registration
to Republican to allow them to weigh in on the contest.

Nebraska is one of 36 states electing governors this year.