Republican Senator Ben Sasse To Retire To Pursue Career In Academics

On Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) indicated that he will step down in his capacity as senator to take a position as the president of the University of Florida.

The deal is not official, but if Sasse were to move forward with the position, then his replacement for the Senate seat would be selected by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R). While Sasse was elected through 2026, the governor will only be able to fill his chair through 2024.

Sasse’s senate seat will be crucial in what is expected to be a tight race for Senate control in the midterm elections.

Sasse explained his decision on Twitter, stating that “wonderful institutions” had approached him in the past about possible employment, but the University of Florida opportunity was special.

“UF is the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state,” Sasse wrote. “Washington partisanship isn’t going to solve these workforce challenges — new institutions and entrepreneurial communities are going to have to spearhead this work.”

“If UF wants to go big, I’m excited about the wide range of opportunities,” he added.

Rahul Patel, chair of the search committee to replace Kent Fuchs, made it clear in a recent statement that they fully endorse Sasse to become the university’s 13th president.

“This is right for the University of Florida, right for the state of Florida and right for the Sasse family,” Patel said 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.”

The search committee selected Sasse by a unanimous vote.

“His vision, humility, integrity, incredible personable nature and deep concern for humanity are all traits that will serve the UF community exceptionally well,” the committee noted. “This is the right moment for such a gifted public servant to lead the Gator nation into the future.”

Next, Sasse will meet with the student body and staff on Monday, before interviewing with the university’s board of trustees on Nov. 1.