Sen. Ben Sasse likely to lead University of Florida

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska appeared to confirm on Thursday that he is poised to take a job at the University of Florida.

He shared an article on Twitter saying he is the sole finalist to lead the university.

“Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government and the private sector,” Rahul Patel, chair of the university’s presidential search committee, said in a press release.

Sasse will visit the campus on Monday. He will be interviewed by the Board of Trustees on Nov. 1.

“The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now,” he said in the press release. “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.”

Before he was elected to the Senate in 2014, Sasse was president of Midland University in Fremont.

He has a doctorate in American history from Yale University.

The Republican began his political career as a darling of the Tea Party, basing his 2014 campaign on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

He began to garner national attention in 2016, when he repeatedly criticized then-candidate Donald Trump.

That made him unpopular with many Republicans, and he had to fend off a primary opponent in 2020, but he won the general election with 63% of the vote.

His 521,000 votes were the most received by any candidate for federal office in Nebraska history.

In 2021, he was one of seven Republicans to vote to convict Trump after the Capitol riot.

After his resignation, the governor would appoint someone to temporarily fill his seat.

Sasse’s successor would serve at least until Jan. 3, 2025. That person could run in 2024, when voters will pick someone to fulfill the final two years of Sasse’s term.

The seat would be on the ballot again in 2026, this time for a full six-year term.

Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb wished Sasse well and said Democrats expect that Gov. Pete Ricketts “will appoint himself to the position, a spot he has wanted for years.”

Ricketts released a statement thanking Sasse for his service and calling him “incredibly smart.”

“He has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, and we need more conservative voices in our universities,” Ricketts said.

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