The Tea Party Express made its first endorsement of 2012 today, throwing its support – and money – behind Nebraska Republican Jon Bruning.
The endorsement is bad news for U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, who was already considered one of the party’s most vulnerable incumbents next year. Nelson’s best hope had been a divisive Republican primary.
The Tea Party Express support puts Bruning, Nebraska’s attorney general, ahead of his Republican competitors and well-poised to challenge Nelson. The well-funded organisation will give Bruning major financial leverage over his primary opponents, as well as clout within the broader Tea Party movement.
The Tea Party Express said Wednesday that it hopes their support will bring national attention to Nebraska’s Senate race. Nelson, one of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats, has long been a primary Tea Party target for his role in advancing Obamacare with the “Cornhusker Kickback.”
“We at the Tea Party Express have been watching and waiting for the right candidate to send Ben Nelson home to retirement,” the group’s chairwoman, Amy Kremer, said in a statement. “Jon Bruning is a true conservative who will fight to uphold the Tea Party core values of fiscal responsibility, and finally give Nebraskans the quality of representation they deserve.”