Gov. Pillen picks Nebraska’s US senator; one Republican says, ‘It smells bad’

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Gov. Jim Pillen is expected to announce former Sen. Ben Sasse’s replacement Thursday morning.

UPDATE: Pillen picks former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts to fill vacant Senate seat

We’ve known from the start that former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was in the running, and earlier this week, several other applicants were revealed.

This all started back in October, when we learned Sasse had interest from the University of Florida, which was searching for its next president.

Since then, there has been a lot of speculation as to who would take his seat, with some fellow Republicans even questioning if it was wise to pick Ricketts.

Former state party delegate Jeremy Aspen told the Associated Press back in December, “It looks bad. It smells bad. What it looks like is two rich guys using their money and power to grab a Senate seat.”

He also went on to say, “This is how authoritarian countries operate.”

Ricketts previously donated more than $100,000 of his own money to Pillen’s gubernatorial campaign.

Some of the other applicants that could get the nod Thursday include former State Sen. Brett Lindstrom.

Ann Ashford is in the mix as well.  She’s the widow of former Rep. Brad Ashford.

We’re told Melanie Standiford also applied.

She was a news director in North Platte who got fired after she helped collect signatures for a ballot initiative aimed at banning abortions.

The event for Thursday’s announcement begins at the Nebraska State Capitol at 9 a.m.

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