Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen announced Thursday that former Governor Pete Ricketts will take the Senate seat of Ben Sasse, who officially resigned from Congress this week to return to academia as president of the University of Florida.

Ricketts, a Republican like Pillen and Sasse, will serve two years before the 2024 special Senate election.

Sasse, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump and his supporters, officially resigned from the Senate on Sunday. He tendered his resignation last month and said he would step down on Jan. 8, two years into his second term.

In his announcement Thursday, Pillen said the process for filling Sasse’s job was taken «incredibly seriously» because the appointee must «represent the people» of Nebraska.

The designee must reflect «values ​​and ideology important to Nebraskans,» including a belief in «less government and fiscal responsibility,» and be «a God-fearing, person of incredible faith like nearly all Nebraskans,» Pillen said.

«It’s clear that the person for the job was Senator-designate Pete Ricketts,» he said.

Pillen said Ricketts was selected for Sasse’s job after more than 100 people applied and nine were interviewed.

Following Pillen’s comments, Ricketts thanked the governor and said he was proud to support his campaign, also thanking Sasse for his service. Ricketts then said that he wants the federal government to «run like a business.»

“We need to hold Washington, DC, accountable and make sure they provide the high level of services that we provide here in Nebraska,” Ricketts said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., welcomed the news of Ricketts’ appointment in a statement Thursday, saying he is «delighted to learn» that Ricketts is addressing the chamber and «looks forward to working on close collaboration» with him.

“Governor Pillen could not have found a more capable leader to take over from our colleague, Senator Sasse, and fight for Cornhusker State,” McConnell said, adding that Ricketts has a “proven record” that “combines a great business knowledge with a deep commitment to public service.»

Ricketts, who has reached his term limit as Pillen’s predecessor, signaled his intention last month to seek the appointment to succeed Sasse.

“For me, it came down to a single question: How can I best serve the people of Nebraska and promote our conservative values?” Ricketts said in a statement announcing his candidacy. «In Congress, we are in a fight for the future of our nation, and it is a fight we have to win.»

A major political ally of Pillen, Ricketts endorsed Pillen to succeed him and was a favorite to replace Sasse.

In parting remarks Last week, Sasse criticized the body of which he had been a member since 2015, saying: «This institution is not working very well at the moment.»

«Each of us knows that we should look in the mirror and recognize that lives lived in a politicized echo chamber are not worthy of a place that calls itself a deliberative body, let alone the largest deliberative body in the world.» said Sasse.

«When we’re honest with each other, which usually means that on one of the rare occasions when the cameras aren’t around, we all know that a lot of the performative screaming that goes on here and in every courtroom is simply about being reserved for even more performative screaming at night on TV,” he added.

Ricketts’ relationship with Trump has taken several turns in recent years. Trump targeted the Ricketts family during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle. Ricketts’ parents, billionaire Joe and Marlene Ricketts, were top donors to an anti-Trump super PAC.

“I hear the rickets [sic] My family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, is secretly spending money against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” Triumph tweeted in 2016.

However, the Ricketts ultimately decided to support Trump, and the then-Governor of Nebraska attended a rally in support of Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.

Ricketts was also chosen by Trump in 2018 to serve on the Advisory Committee on Trade and Negotiations. Trump also praised Ricketts as an «excellent» governor the same year.

But Ricketts drew Trump’s ire last year when he asked the former president to stay out of the Nebraska Republican gubernatorial primary and urged him not to endorse anyone. Trump, however, endorsed businessman Charles Herbster, who lost to Pillen.

Trump also had a falling out with Ricketts last year after Ricketts campaigned for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who became a target of Trump for refusing to help overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump called Ricketts a «RINO,» an acronym for Republican in name only, for endorsing Kemp. Trump endorsed former Sen. David Perdue, who lost to Kemp in the Republican primary.

Ricketts at the time minimized any differences with the former president, saying: “I agree with many of the former president’s policies. We just endorse different candidates,” according to the Nebraska Examiner.