The departure of Republican Ben Sasse left the seat in the Senate vacant, and Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen said on Thursday that he is selecting former Governor Pete Ricketts to fill it.
Republican Ricketts, who finished serving as governor for a second term earlier this month, will maintain the position until a special election in 2024. The position will subsequently be up for election in Nebraska once more in 2026 for the full six-year term.
At a joint press conference held at the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, Pillen and Ricketts shared the stage together. Pillen referred to the choice of Ricketts as “very, very obvious.”
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Sasse gave his resignation in writing on Sunday so that he may take over as president of the University of Florida, where he will start in one month.
In the crowded GOP field for governor last year, Ricketts’ backing helped Pillen win the nomination. Pillen began his duties last week.
Ricketts, according to him, was “dedicated to the long haul” in his pursuit of the seat.
“I don’t think placeholders are useful. I think every day counts,” Pillen said, adding that Ricketts was chosen after nine candidates were interviewed by his office to replace Sasse.
Ricketts said he is “committed to running in ’24 and ‘26.”
He prevailed in the governor’s contest by 18 points in both 2014 and 2018. Pillen emphasized that Ricketts’ electoral success was a crucial factor in his selection for a position for which he would have to run for reelection twice in a row.
Nebraska leans strongly Republican. In 2020, former President Donald Trump won it by a margin of 19 points. Since Ben Nelson, a former senator, decided not to run for reelection in 2012, the state has not had a Democratic senator.
Ricketts previously ran for the Senate in 2006 but was defeated by Nelson, a well-liked former governor himself.
Ricketts will “have a very quick learning ability here as he progresses from state concerns to federal ones,” Republican senior senator Deb Fischer said in the state Capitol on Thursday.
Ricketts asserted that he anticipates “a lot of similarities” between Sasse’s conservative stances and his own, particularly with regard to judicial appointments, national defense, and American policy toward China.
“I do think it’s important that we have (those) same conservative values and philosophies coming to DC,” Ricketts said.
He claimed that Matt Miltenberger, his former chief of staff in the governor’s office, will assist him in hiring staff in Washington. Keep yourself updated with all the latest news from our website Newswatchlist.com and get all the recent updates.