Sen. Ben Sasse to Leave Congress Early for University of Florida Job — Here’s Who Could Replace Him

 Sen. Ben Sasse to Leave Congress Early for University of Florida Job — Here’s Who Could Replace Him

Ben Sasse

Ben Sasse

Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse

Sen. Ben Sasse will likely be trading in his seat in the Senate for a job as the University of Florida president.

On Thursday, the college announced the Republican senator as a “sole finalist” for its top position, after considering “a dozen highly qualified diverse candidates.”

“This is right for the University of Florida, right for the state of Florida and right for the Sasse family,” said Rahul Patel, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, in the announcement. “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.”

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Sasse has served as the junior United States senator for Nebraska since 2015. He was one of seven Republican senators to vote to impeach former president Donald Trump.

While speaking about the nation’s economic landscape, the politician said the “single biggest challenge our nation faces is the radical disruption of work,” according to UF.

He added, “Technology is changing everything about where, when, why, what and how Americans work — and so it’s changing our homes, neighborhoods and communities too. Lifelong work in one sector will never again be the norm for most Americans, and therefore lifelong learning must necessarily become the norm for most Americans. Higher education is going to need to change and grow — and rethink its forms — again and again.”

Sasse is scheduled to visit the campus Monday to sit down with students and staff.

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As for who will replace Sasse in the Senate, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is set to appoint Sasse’s successor, is a likely contender, reported Politico, adding that Sasse could step into his new role before 2023.

Ricketts’ spokesperson Alex Reuss responded to the speculation, saying, “We aren’t going to speculate at this point. Right now, Senator Sasse is a sitting US senator, and there’s no appointment to be made,” per Politico.

Also speculated as a replacement are Nebraska Republican Representatives Mike Flood and Don Bacon, according to Newsweek.

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Geoff Lorenz, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told Newsweek that it’s not likely Bacon will replace Sasse because he “has had to distance himself from the party somewhat in order to carry his seat.”

He also noted that Flood “is a brand-new member of Congress, and like many new members he has focused on being a loyal party soldier.”

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Sasse said, per Politico, that he and his wife had been “pursued by wonderful institutions the past two years, but we’ve resisted being a finalist. This time is different because the University of Florida is different: I think Florida is the most interesting university in America right now.”

Sasse won a reelection in 2020, launching his second six-year term, for Newsweek.

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