Grassroots Endeavor Hopes to Put Osborne on Nebraska Ballot

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Tom Osborne lost the Republican primary for governor, but his supporters aren't giving up — they asked the Nebraska Supreme Court on Wednesday to overturn a state law so they can run a write-in campaign for him in November.

Osborne, a congressman and former University of Nebraska football coach, got 44 percent of the vote in the May primary, losing to Gov. Dave Heineman, who got 50 percent.

Nebraska law prohibits a candidate who lost in a primary from launching a write-in campaign, but the Supreme Court complaint filed by Osborne's supporters questions its legality, noting that the state Constitution says: "All elections shall be free and there shall be no hindrance or impediment to the right of a qualified voter to exercise the elective franchise."

Osborne did not sanction or endorse the write-in effort, the backers said.

"This is totally a grassroots endeavor by supporters of Tom Osborne ... who hope to spearhead a massive write-in campaign," they said in a statement.

The group is led by Johnny Rodgers, who won the 1972 Heisman Trophy at Nebraska a year before Osborne was elevated to head coach, and Doak Ostergard, associate head trainer for the team.

Osborne did not seek a fourth term representing the 3rd Congressional District, where his bids for federal office never received less than 82 percent of the vote.

"As nice as it is of my former players and associates to be concerned about my future, none of their efforts have involved consultation with me," he said in a news release.