Ricketts Sworn In as Nebraska’s Junior Senator

January 23, 2023 by Dan McCue
Ricketts Sworn In as Nebraska’s Junior Senator
Pete Ricketts (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON — Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was sworn in as the U.S. Senate’s 100th senator on Monday, taking the place of former Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who retired to take a position at the University of Florida.

Ricketts, a Republican who had run unsuccessfully for the Senate nearly 20 years ago, was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Shortly afterwards, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the new member of his conference on the floor of the Senate chamber, noting that the “Cornhusker State expects a lot from its leaders.” 

“For the last eight years, Nebraskans could rest easy knowing they had Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse on the job here in Washington,” McConnell said. “And during that same time, of course, they also had an outstanding leader even closer to home.


“As governor, Pete Ricketts applied private-sector savvy to the work of public administration with great effect. He secured for Nebraska families and small businesses the biggest tax relief in state history,” the Republican leader continued. 


“He championed parents’ rights and defended civics education. And in the face of a global pandemic, he built his state’s response on common sense — saving lives, but also safeguarding livelihoods, preserving liberties and protecting kids’ educations at the same time,” McConnell said, adding, “The people of Nebraska chose wisely in electing and reelecting Gov. Ricketts by huge margins. And their new governor chose wisely in sending his predecessor here to this chamber.”

Ricketts will serve for two years before a special Senate election is held in 2024. An election for a full six-year Senate term will then be held in 2026. 

The turn of events was set in motion in December when Sasse resigned from the Senate to become president of the University of Florida. He officially left office at noon on Jan. 8.

Ricketts, who had been term-limited as Nebraska’s governor and could not run for reelection last year, was appointed by his successor, Republican Gov. Jim Pillen.


Pillen said Ricketts beat out eight other Republican finalists who had sought to replace Sasse.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and

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