The GOP's shadow race for Nebraska senator is already locked up — if the governor wants it

LINCOLN, Neb. — Gov. Pete Ricketts sounds open to becoming a senator — and that’s good news to Mitch McConnell and other top Washington Republicans who are eager for him to join the chamber.

Ricketts has made clear he won’t appoint himself to the seat of outgoing Sen. Ben Sasse. But Ricketts is termed out of office in January, by which time Sasse is likely to have departed to the University of Florida, and the Republican governor could raise his hand then to be appointed to Sasse’s seat.

In an interview with POLITICO, Ricketts made no secret of his fondness for the Senate, in contrast to other GOP governors who have turned down opportunities to run for seats in what they view as a chamber of dysfunction.

“It’s still very relevant and important,” Ricketts said of the Senate, while allowing that a move from the governor’s office to Washington could require a “mind frame shift.”

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