Pete Ricketts to seek U.S. Senate appointment

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts(Nebraska governor's office)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:57 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 11:55 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced Tuesday morning his intention to seek the appointment to serve as the state’s next U.S. senator.

The two-term Republican governor said he will submit his application for consideration alongside all other applicants in the process Governor-elect Jim Pillen has laid out to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Ben Sasse.

“This decision is the result of many hours of prayer and family discussions,” said Governor Ricketts. “For me, it came down to a single question: How can I best serve the people of Nebraska and advance our conservative values? In Congress, we’re in a fight for the future of our nation, and it’s a fight we have to win. We must cut taxes, strengthen public safety and our national security, and protect our most sacred freedoms.”

“Over the last eight years, we’ve shown the world the real impact conservative leadership can have,” Ricketts said. “I want to continue delivering results for our state, fighting to reduce taxes, grow our economy, defend our liberties, and run government more like a business. I’ll never stop working to get the job done, and that’s why I’m asking for Governor-elect Pillen’s consideration.”

Sen. Ben Sasse is resigning to take a job as president of the University of Florida.

Sasse’s base salary is listed at $174,000.

Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb issued a statement following the announcement.

“Gov. Ricketts bought this U.S. Senate seat,” Kleeb said. “He tried to win against Sen. Ben Nelson with his parents’ money in 2006, and the voters rejected him two-to-one,” Kleeb said. “Now, in the state’s most obvious pay-to-play case, Ricketts will be able to call himself a senator.”

Applications for the senate seat are due to Pillen’s office by Friday, Dec. 23. Submissions can be made online at or sent to the Nebraska State Capitol Room 1315, 1445 K St., Lincoln, NE 68508.

Five of Nebraska’s U.S. Senators have been appointed since 1913.