Ricketts seeks U.S. Senate appointment

Dec. 6, 2022, midnight ·

Governor Pete Ricketts speaks Tuesday (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)
Governor Pete Ricketts speaks Tuesday (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media News)

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced he’ll seek appointment to the U.S. Senate. That appointment will be up to Gov.-elect Jim Pillen, whom Ricketts helped get elected.

Ricketts announcement comes a day after Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse confirmed he’ll resign Jan. 8 to become President of the University of Florida. Ricketts said he’d like to build on his conservative record as governor, to “continue delivering results for our state, fighting to reduce taxes, grow our economy, defend our liberties, and run government more like a business.”

In asking Pillen to appoint him, Ricketts is seeking the nod from someone whom he endorsed, campaigned for, and spent $1.5 million of his own money to help get elected. Ricketts said he doesn’t think his appointment is a foregone conclusion.

“Some people think this is a done deal since Gov.-elect Pillen and I have been friends for nearly 20 years. Again, I’m going to be an applicant like anybody else, I’m going to apply, and we’ll go through Gov.-elect Pillen’s process,” Ricketts said.

When Pillen was asked if Ricketts’ past support would affect his decision, or whether he was concerned about the perception that it would, he only said he’ll be conducting a thorough review process to select the best candidate who “embodies the commonsense, conservative values of Nebraska.”

Meanwhile Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb accused Ricketts of “buying” the Senate seat.

Nebraska Republican Party Chair Eric Underwood, whose supporters ousted the Ricketts-backed party leadership in July, said “We trust Gov.-elect Pillen to select the best candidate to represent the people of Nebraska in the United States Senate.”