Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts on Tuesday announced that he will seek an appointment to serve as the state’s next US Senator.

Ricketts, whose final term as governor expires at the end of the year, hopes to fill the seat that will be vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

“This decision is the result of many hours of prayer and family discussions,” Ricketts said in a statement, according to KETV. “For me, it came down to a single question: How can I best serve the people of Nebraska and advance our conservative values? In Congress, we’re in a fight for the future of our nation, and it’s a fight we have to win. We must cut taxes, strengthen public safety and our national security, and protect our most sacred freedoms.”

Sasse is leaving the Senate to pursue a new opportunity as president of the University of Florida. Despite opposition from left-wing students and faculty members, Sasse, formerly president of Midland University in Freemont, Nebraska, was confirmed as the school’s next president on Nov. 9. He will formally resign from the Senate on Jan. 8 after completing the current session of Congress.

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FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool File)
(Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool File)

Pete Ricketts, governor of Nebraska, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

Pete Ricketts, governor of Nebraska, speaks during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
(Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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“Thrilled to join Gator Nation in February – very excited about the work ahead,” Sasse tweeted on Nov. 9. “Melissa and I have had the great honor of serving Nebraskans in the Senate these 8 yrs — I will finish out the upcoming lameduck session and resign in the first week of January.”

In the event of a Senate vacancy, Nebraska state law requires that the governor appoint a new senator within 45 days. Gov.-elect Jim Pillen, a Republican, would have the responsibility of appointing Sasse’s successor, as Ricketts was term-limited and did not seek re-election.

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The individual appointed by Pillen would serve until January 2025 and a special election will be called for 2024 for the remaining two years of Sasse’s term, the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office told KETV.

An election for a full six-year Senate term would be held in 2026.

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Pillen began taking applications to fill the upcoming Senate vacancy on Monday.

“I am confident that Governor-Election Pillen will appoint someone who will serve Nebraskans well in Washington,” Sasse wrote in his resignation letter to Ricketts.

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