While Nebraska Republicans reacted cautiously Wednesday to their party's Senate loss in Alabama, Nebraska Democrats saw a ray of hope in the outcome.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who had criticized the Republican National Committee's financial support for embattled GOP nominee Roy Moore, said the election of Democratic nominee Doug Jones on Tuesday night was nothing to celebrate.

Republican Sen. Deb Fischer deflected direct comment on the results, suggesting "this was a race focused on Roy Moore, and the people of Alabama made their decision based on that."

Sasse said he couldn't have voted for either of the Alabama candidates in the special election.

"As soon as the Alabama primary was over, a lot of pro-life conservatives like me knew that there wouldn't be anything to celebrate in December either way in this race between two terrible candidates," he said.

When the national GOP decided to resume pumping money into the race on behalf of Moore despite mounting evidence of Moore's aggressive and improper sexual contact with underage girls when he was in his 30s, Sasse had tweeted his outrage.

"This is a bad decision and very sad day," he tweeted.

"A political party must be about more than expediency," Sasse later tweeted. "To have any future, a party must have some fundamental convictions and commitments."

Associate Democratic State Chair Frank LaMere said Jones' victory "represents the repudiation of the 'fake patriotism' of Donald Trump and the hope that fair-minded Alabama voters gave to all Americans."

"The first deeply red state has fallen under the Trump administration," LaMere said. "Who is next?" he asked.

Democratic State Chair Jane Kleeb said the Democratic victory in Alabama "shows our party must invest in our base — African-Americans, Latinos, women and young people — while reaching out to targeted Republicans who stand with American values."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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