Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has picked former Gov. Pete Ricketts to assume the position of a U.S. senate seat given up by Ben Sasse, who resigned years prior to the end of his term.
Sasse stepped down earlier this month so he can focus on his new planned position as president of the University of Florida. He has been a U.S. senator since early 2015, and would have held the position until 2026 given that he was reelected during the 2020 election.
thrilled to join Gator Nation in February — very excited about the work ahead. Melissa and I have had the great honor of serving Nebraskans in the Senate these 8 yrs — I will finish out the upcoming lameduck session and resign in the first week of January https://t.co/W4mS5hnTR9
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) November 9, 2022
As Blaze Media noted, Sasse has a controversial history within the Republican Party. In 2021, he was one of the seven GOP senators who voted “yes” on convicting former President Donald Trump over protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The vote was held after the former president had already left office, and failed to meet the required amount required for a conviction.
Sasse additionally has drawn heat for his monetary connections, especially after he received multi-thousand dollar donations from hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Fox News host Tucker Carlson lamented the financial connection between the two in Dec. 2019, pointing out that Singer purchased sporting goods retailer Cabela’s, a move that terminated the jobs of 2,000 in the town of Sidney, Nebraska.
“We’re not saying Ben Sasse or any other senator is doing Singer’s bidding purely for the cash,” Carlson said at the time. “But why not remove all doubt? If one of your biggest donors turned out to be a pornographer or a mass distributor of OxyContin, you’d send back the donation. You wouldn’t want to be associated with someone like that. You’d want to be clear about your own values. Senator Sasse should be clear about his.”
Pillen assumed the position of the governor earlier this month, succeeding Ricketts, who was in the role from 2015 to 2023. The two have a history of comradery — Ricketts backed Pillen before the Republican primary race for governor last year.
A special election will be held in 2024 in order to decide who will serve during the seat’s final two years, according to the Washington Post.
The switch will not change the balance of Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate, as both Ricketts and Sasse are registered Republicans.
Upon public receiving his appointment, Ricketts emphasized the necessity for “a strong national defense” and asserted that the U.S. must push back against threats such as the Chinese Communist Party.