Former Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska resigned Sunday as he prepares for his next position as president of the University of Florida, which he begins Feb. 6.
“thrilled to join Gator Nation in February — very excited about the work ahead,” he tweeted on Nov. 9 after the Florida Board of Governors confirmed him in a 16-1 vote. “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.”
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
Sasse’s replacement will be named by Gov. Jim Pillen, though the rumored pick - former Gov. Pete Ricketts - isn't sitting well with some Republicans, according to AP.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) officially resigned at 12:00 Noon today. Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen will select his replacement.— Senate Periodicals (@SenatePPG) January 8, 2023
Pillen was elected in November in large part because of current Gov. Pete Ricketts ’ backing, and now he can return the favor by appointing him to the Senate, more than 15 years after Ricketts spent $12 million of his own money on a failed bid for the office.
Even as they acknowledge Ricketts is deeply conservative and qualified to replace outgoing Sen. Ben Sasse, some Republicans aren’t sure such an appointment would be a good idea.
“It looks bad. It smells bad. What it looks like is two rich guys using their money and power to grab a Senate seat,” said Jeremy Aspen, an Omaha Republican and former state party delegate. “This is how authoritarian countries operate, where a powerful few ride roughshod to get what they want. Things like this stay on voters’ minds.” (AP)
Sasse, who was one of seven Republicans to vote to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial, left the Senate two years into his second term. He is reportedly set to make an annual salary of $1 million as UF's president.