He and his wife “have been pursued by wonderful institutions the past two years, but we 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.
Sass made a name for himself in his second term as a staunch Donald Trump critic and reliable conservative pollster in Congress. Despite his interest in academia, his resignation will come as a bit of a surprise after he runs for re-election in 2020 and could one day pursue higher office.
Sasse was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict the former president during Trump’s second impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. His resignation would create a safe GOP seat in a red state; Except for Ricketts, Nebraska GOP Reps. Don Bacon And Mike Flood May also be in the mix for appointment.
Ricketts said Sasse “has one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate, and we need more conservative voices in our universities. Senator Sasse is also incredibly intelligent and has experience and a clear passion for higher education.”
As for the possible self-nomination, Ricketts spokesman Alex Reus said, “We’re not going to speculate at this point. Currently, Senator Chass is a United States Senator and has not been nominated.
Sasse has been interested in an academic job for some time, according to Republicans familiar with his future plans. Ahead of his 2020 run, there was speculation that he would seek an open position to lead the University of Nebraska; Before running for the Senate, he was president of Midland University.
In a February 2021 interview as his state party prepared to censure him for his impeachment vote (which he was ultimately condemned for), Sasse spoke at length about his views on education and how he thought of Democrats. Corona virus help package Missed the mark.
“I can’t use the word progressive, I guess, but I do care deeply about poverty and the fact that lower-middle-class people are not well served by the educational establishment at K-12 or at the higher-ed level,” Chass said. “So you look at this package. Does it really help poor kids? Not at all.”
In recent years he has maintained a relatively low profile in the Senate, while expressing frustration with the chamber and politics more broadly. Chass sometimes tries to engage his colleagues in debate on the Senate floor, and says serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee is the best part of his job.
He and his family agonized over whether to run for re-election in 2020 after his first full term in the Senate, and “everyone was 51 percent to 75 percent, and we thought it was our call. So no one is under 50-50. Yet no one is like the 95 percent.
“This company needs to be more productive than that. And the only area that’s more productive every day is working at Intel,” he said in a 2021 interview.
In one of the highest moments of sass this year, he stimulated with Sen. Chris Murphy The Connecticut Democrat floored the floor in March over a tweet attacking Republicans for criticizing President Joe Biden’s handling of the Ukraine war while voting against a government spending bill that included aid to Kyiv.
Chass’ Sherpa through the university search process was Governor Ron DeSantis’ chief of staff, James Uthmeyer, who contacted Chass several months ago. Florida’s flagship university enrolls more than 55,000 students.
“He sent smoke signals and it was known there was interest for a while,” said a Florida Republican operative familiar with the process. “I don’t know who put him in touch with James, but he took it from there as soon as it happened.”
Uthmeier declined to comment.
DeSantis had no direct role in the process, but he is now responsible for appointing the team that will make the final decision to hire Sass. Sass was selected as the only finalist after a national search and more than 700 candidates.
During the 2022 session, the Florida GOP-led legislature approved a bill that would allow universities in the state to search for university presidents outside of Florida’s public records and open meetings laws.
In addition to his work on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Chass worked with bipartisan senators this year to reform the Election Counting Act of 1887, a response to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He was one of the bill’s original GOP co-sponsors.
“Ben is a good and smart and principled person,” Chen said. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “I can’t think of an issue where we agreed, but he’s someone I respect for always being thoughtful and always standing up for the rule of law with the courage of his convictions.”
A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sasse recently attended the inauguration of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, despite voting against his nomination.
Shortly afterwards, Sasse said he was not going to attack the credibility of the court and that “many of my colleagues should take a similar approach”.
“America does not work when partisans try to burn down our institutions,” he said.
Some details about Sasse’s future were first reported by former assistant Ian Swanson, who has his own show on 1110 KFAB.
Matt Dixon contributed to this story.
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