Sen. Pete Ricketts wins special election primary to finish out Ben Sasse’s term until 2026

Gun Rights

Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) will have a chance to stay on Capitol Hill after winning Nebraska’s special primary election on Tuesday to finish out former Republican Sen. Ben Sasse’s term until 2026.

The Associated Press called the race at 8:10 p.m. with Ricketts receiving 75.5% of the vote with 17% of votes counted. His closest competitor, John Glen Weaver, received 15.9% when the race was called.

Ricketts succeeded Sasse, who left Congress to become the next president of the University of Florida, on Jan. 12, 2023, by an appointment from Gov. Jim Pillen (R-NE). The former governor of Nebraska, Ricketts also plans to run for a full term in 2026 once Sasse’s term is fulfilled.

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Tuesday’s primary marked the first time since 1954 that both of Nebraska’s Senate seats are concurrently up for reelection, and the Cornhusker State is the only state in the nation to have both Senate seats on the ballot in 2024.

Ricketts, along with Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), who is seeking reelection, and the three members of the Nebraska House delegation, did not receive an endorsement from the state Republican Party, the first time in party history.

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Still, Ricketts nabbed endorsements from key groups such as Americans for Prosperity Action, the National Rifle Association’s Victory Fund, and the Nebraska Farm Bureau, as well as support from several state Republican lawmakers. According to campaign finance records, Ricketts drastically outspent and outraised Weaver.

Ricketts will go on to face Preston Love Jr., the sole Democrat who registered for the primary, to determine who will finish out Sasse’s term. The Senate seats have been held by Republicans since 2013, but Democrats believe that divisions within the state GOP could help aid a Democratic victory.

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