Republican Ben Sasse of Nebraska is no longer a U.S. senator after he cut his term short to enter the lucrative private sector, taking a gig as the University of Florida's new president. His replacement was named this week.
While Sasse's resignation had already hit the headlines last year, the big question remained of who Republican Gov. Jim Pillen would choose as his replacement, The Hill reported.
Pillen chose to name former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) to fill the vacant seat, stirring plenty of buzz across the mainstream media and social media.
Fantastic news— I’m looking forward to working with my friend Pete Ricketts in the Senate!
Pete will continue to fight for Nebraskans in Washington as we hold the failing Biden administration accountable, stand up to Communist China, and advance conservative policies.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 12, 2023
The Hill noted: "Ricketts will now serve until January 2025. Under Nebraska state law, Rickets will have to run in a special election in 2024 to fill the remaining two years of Sasse’s term. He would then have to run again in 2026 in order to win a full six-year term."
Gov. Pillen explained the process of narrowing down who would receive the prestigious appointment to the upper chamber. Over 111 candidates were considered, Pillen explained.
"My job in this process is really, really simple: to find the best person to represent us Nebraskans," the governor said.
Pillen added: "Ultimately, the timing of this is very, very rigorous, and my belief in not [selecting] a placeholder and my belief in seniority being really, really important, and running statewide elections and winning statewide elections in ’24 and ’26 is rigorous and demanding, and ultimately that was a big separator."
Ricketts had apparently convinced Pillen and his team that he would commit to running in 2024 in the special election and then again in 2026 in the midterms.
Social media reaction to Ricketts landing the gig was controversial, with some major names like Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders congratulating him.
Great news today for my friend and former Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts! Pete is the strong, conservative leader we need in Washington to hold the line on government spending, cut taxes, and champion conservative values in the U.S. Senate 🇺🇸 https://t.co/udSqXJu4pe
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 13, 2023
However, others raised questions about how exactly Ricketts got the final call.
The shadow campaign for Ricketts for Senate began almost as immediately as Sasse announced he would leave the seat. Lindsey Graham publicly boosted Ricketts for Senate when he made a stop at a steak fry in Nebraska just days later:https://t.co/rw0xCdIQq4
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 13, 2023
Only time will tell how Ricketts does as a Republican senator. With the razor-thin margin of Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber, we can only hope and pray that he's an America First kind of congressman.