Tea party endorses Bruning for US Senate in Neb.

By HENRY C. JACKSON and MARGERY A. BECK | May 11, 2011 | 10:59 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Tea Party Express is endorsing Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning for the U.S Senate in Nebraska, the group's first 2012 endorsement. The prominent conservatives' endorsement comes more than a year before Nebraskans vote in what is shaping up to be a crowded GOP primary to unseat Democrat Ben Nelson.

Bruning welcomed the endorsement at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.

Two other candidates have also announced bids: Treasurer Don Stenberg and Pat Flynn, a Schuyler, Neb., investment adviser.

Nelson, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, is considered vulnerable because of his vote for President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation.