Nebraska’s Ben Sasse expected to resign from the US Senate to become next University of Florida president

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is expected to resign from the US Senate to pursue a job in higher education.The University of Florida announced Thursday that Sasse is the sole finalist to become the school’s 13th president. While there’s still a process that needs to take place in Florida, it’s clear that Sasse has every intent of taking the job as University of Florida’s president.“The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now,” Sasse said in a statement. “It’s the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state — and its board, faculty and graduates are uniquely positioned to lead this country through an era of disruption. The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation’s most outstanding faculties.”The University of Florida board of trustees must consider the search committee’s recommendation. So Sasse would not have the job until the board votes to give it to him.The 50-year-old senator is scheduled to visit the Gainesville campus on Monday to meet with students, faculty and community members.The head of the search committee said the choice of Sasse is right for the University of Florida, the state of Florida, and the Sasse family.Sasse was an unanimous choice of the committee — one of 700 candidates considered by the school.Under Nebraska law, Gov. Pete Ricketts would appoint Sasse’s successor should he resign. The appointee would serve until the next statewide election in 2024.“Within 45 days of a vacancy arising, the Governor would appoint a qualified Nebraskan to fill the vacancy. That person would serve until January 2025. An election would be held in 2024 to fill the seat for the remaining two years of the term. The person appointed by the Governor to fill the seat would be eligible to run at that time,” Secretary of State Bob Evnen said in a statement. “An election for the regular six-year term of the seat would be held in 2026.” Ricketts thanked Sasse on Thursday for his service to “our state and nation.”“(Sasse) would make an excellent president for the University of Florida ,” Ricketts said in a statement. “He has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, and we need more conservative voices in our Universities. Senator Sasse is also incredibly smart and has the experience and a clear passion for higher education. I wish him luck as the University of Florida makes their consideration.” Sasse was elected to succeed Republican Mike Johanns in 2014 and has been serving as a senator since January 2015.He was reelected in 2020, defeating Democrat Chris Janicek and Democratic write-in candidate Preston Love Jr.In Feb. 2021, Sasse was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict former President Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection in Trump’s second impeachment trial.The Douglas County Republican Party moved to censure Sasse after the vote, but failed.Sasse was the president of Midland University in Fremont from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2014.The last time Nebraska had a US Senate vacancy was in 1987, when Ed Zorinsky died while in office.Zorinsky was near the end of his second term and then-Gov. Kay Orr appointed David Karnes to fill Zorinsky’s seat.More election coverage

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is expected to resign from the US Senate to pursue a job in higher education.

The University of Florida announced Thursday that Sasse is the sole finalist to become the school’s 13th president.

While there’s still a process that needs to take place in Florida, it’s clear that Sasse has every intent of taking the job as University of Florida’s president.

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“The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now,” Sasse said in a statement. “It’s the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state — and its board, faculty and graduates are uniquely positioned to lead this country through an era of disruption. The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation’s most outstanding faculties.”

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The University of Florida board of trustees must consider the search committee’s recommendation. So Sasse would not have the job until the board votes to give it to him.

The 50-year-old senator is scheduled to visit the Gainesville campus on Monday to meet with students, faculty and community members.

The head of the search committee said the choice of Sasse is right for the University of Florida, the state of Florida, and the Sasse family.

Sasse was an unanimous choice of the committee — one of 700 candidates considered by the school.

Under Nebraska law, Gov. Pete Ricketts would appoint Sasse’s successor should he resign. The appointee would serve until the next statewide election in 2024.

“Within 45 days of a vacancy arising, the Governor would appoint a qualified Nebraskan to fill the vacancy. That person would serve until January 2025. An election would be held in 2024 to fill the seat for the remaining two years of the term. The person appointed by the Governor to fill the seat would be eligible to run at that time,” Secretary of State Bob Evnen said in a statement. “An election for the regular six-year term of the seat would be held in 2026.”

Ricketts thanked Sasse on Thursday for his service to “our state and nation.”

“(Sasse) would make an excellent president for the University of Florida,” Ricketts said in a statement. “He has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, and we need more conservative voices in our Universities. Senator Sasse is also incredibly smart and has the experience and a clear passion for higher education. I wish him luck as the University of Florida makes their consideration.”

Sasse was elected to succeed Republican Mike Johanns in 2014 and has been serving as a senator since January 2015.

He was reelected in 2020, defeating Democrat Chris Janicek and Democratic write-in candidate Preston Love Jr.

In Feb. 2021, Sasse was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict former President Donald Trump of injury of injury in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

The Douglas County Republican Party moved to censure Sasse after the vote, but failed.

Sasse was the president of Midland University in Fremont from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2014.

[twitter align=’center’ id=’1578116999640743938′ username=”BenSasse”]https://twitter.com/BenSasse/status/1578116999640743938[/twitter]

The last time Nebraska had a US Senate vacancy was in 1987, when Ed Zorinsky died while in office.

Zorinsky was near the end of his second term and then-Gov. Kay Orr appointed David Karnes to fill Zorinsky’s seat.

More election coverage

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