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Republican nominee Mitt Romney won the battle for Nebraska's only competitive presidential electoral vote Tuesday night.

Romney was running ahead of President Barack Obama in the Omaha-dominated 2nd Congressional District, a district that Obama won in 2008.

The district is composed of Douglas County and portions of Sarpy County. Its boundaries were changed by the 2011 Legislature after the 2010 census, creating a marginally more Republican-friendly district.

Obama's 2008 victory marked the first time Nebraska had cast an electoral vote for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson won Nebraska and all the state's electoral votes were cast for the statewide winner.

Nebraska now is one of two states -- Maine is the other -- which allocates some of its electoral votes to the winner of congressional districts.

In Nebraska, two electoral votes are awarded to the statewide winner and one goes to the victor in each of the three congressional districts.

The Obama campaign zeroed in on the Omaha district in 2008, launching an extensive ground campaign to capture the electoral vote that campaign manager David Plouffe later identified as his "personal favorite target," a vote "we thought we could steal."

There was less of an Obama campaign commitment this year, and Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus vowed at the Republican national convention in Tampa in August: "We're not going to let that one get away from us again."

Romney held comfortable leads in both the 1st District, which includes Lincoln, and the vast 3rd District, as well as statewide.

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Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at


Political reporter

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

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