A tearful Rep. Jon Christensen struggled for words after learning he had been trounced in his bid to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

"Sometimes you learn more from a loss than a win, and I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for us," said Christensen, whose fiancee, former Miss America Tara Holland, was at his side.Once the front-runner, the 35-year-old Christensen finished third in a five candidate field Tuesday. Lincoln Mayor Mike Johanns easily won the GOP nomination, stunning the conservative two-term congressman who gave up his seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to run for gov-ernor.

Christensen wept during his concession speech as he tried to show his gratitude to his volunteers. Embarrassed, he then looked down at a row of photographers in front of the podium.

"You guys up front here taking my picture - I beg . . . that you don't use one of me crying," he said. "This may be the last time I'm in the paper."

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Johanns had 86,041 votes, or 40 percent of the vote. State Auditor John Breslow was second with 64,127 votes, or 30 percent, while Christensen had 60,093 votes, or 28 percent. Two other candidates each received 1 percent.

Said Johanns: "We all agreed about one thing, and that was at it's time to elect a Republican governor."